He may be a CA by qualification with work experience in different multinationals, but Hemant Lodha chooses to run a waste management company due to his environmental leanings. A globe-trotter who has worked across countries like Thailand, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, he chose Nagpur as his home when beginning a new innings of his career. Among his social engagements is the work he does for organisations like Vidarbha Industries Association, Mahavir International, Rotary Club of Nagpur, SAPTARISHI a spiritual group, Bharat Club Indonesia, a website on the Oswal community www.oswals.net, CAFÉ (Child Adoption For Education) an NGO helping needy kids for their education, CARE (Child Adoption For Rehabilitation & Education), a home for HIV positive kids and many others. He is also the convenor of the Nagpur Smart City Council. In this interview with NF, he talks about the past and future of the city he loves.
Can you describe the Nagpur you first saw?
I was born and brought up in Rajasthan. It was in December 1982 after completing CA that I came to Nagpur. My memories of the city over the next eight years are not so good. We used to call it NARAKPUR then. Roads were not so good, there wasn’t much greenery and it was climatically very hot. Yet I had made such good friends in Nagpur that after staying in Indonesia for 11 years, I chose to come back here in 2002.
What is your earliest memory of being proud to be a Nagpurian?
If you recall, between 2000-2002 Shri Chandrasekharji was the municipal commissioner. He changed the face of Nagpur completely by improving infrastructure, increasing the city’s green cover and making Nagpur clean. So when I came back to Nagpur in 2002, I decided to settle here. However, I was not sure what I would do to fulfil my economic needs.
According to you, what are the areas that should be focused on for the progress of Nagpur? How can it be done?
I have written an entire blog post on this topic! It’s called “A to Z to make Nagpur a global city by 2020”, and you can read it on http://www.hemantlodha.com/nagpur/.
Why is the smart city tag so important to gain?
The smart city tag will attract more investors and funding from central and state governments. It will also increase the accountability of bureaucrats and politicians to ensure Nagpur’s progress in the right direction.
In your area of expertise, how do Nagpur and Nagpurians fare in today’s world?
Though I am a CA but my area of expertise is general management. In my opinion, we lack the management and leadership skill. Nowadays any city or country needs to be managed like a corporate organisation. Political methods and bureaucratic attitude are the main cause of the slow progress of Nagpur.
What does the Nagpur of 2020 look in your vision?
I am sure Nagpur will qualify for becoming one of the top 100 cities in India. Projects like Metro and MIHAN will help achieve our dream of making Nagpur a global city by 2020. GST will make Nagpur one of the most convenient logistics hub for entire central India. The new tag of “Tiger Capital” may help in increasing the tourism.
Interviewed in August 2016 by Payal Gwalani, Nagpur First Volunteer