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Dr C H Krishnamurthi Rao
07.11.1940 - 19.01.2012
Dr C H Krishnamurthi Rao, Founder Chairman of the Group, born in Coimbatore, completed his degree in Mechanical Engineering, PSG College of Engineering, Coimbatore, University of Madras. After Engineering, he joined Everest Engineering, Coimbatore, as a Site Engineer. He worked for five years in various places like Coimbatore, Mettur, Tiruchi, Chennai and Mandya. He moved on to do his Ph.D in Doctorate of Technology Management at the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, (BITS) Pilani, at the age of 54. He was also qualified as a P.E from Institution of Engineers (India) and was awarded Fellowship (FNAE) at the Indian National Academy of Engineering.
Dr Rao, had over four decades of research experience in the areas of energy conservation, environmental protection, water management, life sciences and had steadfastly led the Company for more than four decades and to position India as a Technology Leader. Through his intensive and penchant for world-class performance, the Group has excelled in the global arena, creating reputable inventions that made their mark on the international arena.
The technologies he introduced, though innovative and challenging, were equally risky in terms of investment and corporate image. He had to face stiff resistance along the way from conservative parties who were opposed to newer and untested technologies which they feared would not integrate well into local conditions. The technologies he introduced successfully have turned out to be a "trend-setter".
It is through Dr Rao's far-sightedness, perseverance and quest for innovations that have helped the Group to achieve its current success. He had always maintained a "clean and green" stance - that all his business undertakings are aimed at, for the betterment of environment, energy conservation and the well being of the earth's citizens. Now the Group Companies are member Dr Rao Holdings, Singapore which is the Corporate headquarters.
The Group, established by Dr Rao, has many "firsts" to its credit and received numerous patents and worldwide recognition for the viability of his innovative technologies.
Caustic Soda industry till the recent past had conjured up a crude image of high pollution and energy consuming one, as the age-old technology adopted mercury and asbestos, which are highly pollutant. It was the time when Japan was hit by the dreaded minimata disease and the Government imposed a directive to all caustic-chlorine industry to scrap mercury cells and change-over to a different system. The Membrane Technology was just in its infancy in the world and had developed to a certain extent in Japan. It was considered to be very energy efficient and environ-friendly.
TEAM - Promoter of CCAL and the flag ship Company of the Group, as is its usual wont, looked for a suitable tie-up for manufacture of these membrane cells in India and came in touch with Chlorine Engineers Corporation Ltd (CEC), a Mitsui Group. Initially, they were not willing to transfer the technology, as it was a very delicate technology; but after getting satisfied on the track-record of the Group and its capabilities, agreed to part with the technology. TEAM was very particular that the collaborators should accede to TEAM's demand of making use of the indigenous talent and indigenous manufacture. CEC was very understanding and offered the technology to TEAM. TEAM, bought only the know how, licence and only critical parts from Japanese Company, successfully assimilated the technology and manufactured the entire electrolyser and parts, brine treatment system, chlorine and hydrogen handling systems, Instrumentation were done, indigenously by Team.
TEAM efforts to propagate this pollution free technology met with cold response as none of the Chlor-Alkali unit in India came forward to invest money on this new technology as there were apprehensions whether such a clean technology would be viable and that it would suit the Indian conditions and could withstand the vagaries of power fluctuations and disruptions, as the electrolysers are very sensitive. TEAM took up this as a challenge to venture into this technology to India and put up a plant on its own, in Pondicherry. Thus Chemfab Alkalis, Pondicherry was born in 1985.
The financial institutions were totally reluctant to render financial assistance, in view of the newness of the technology. After a lot of persuasion and personal guarantees, they were willing to underwrite the Public Issue and offered financial assistance. But, the public were different. They were for modern technologies and the Public issue was over-subscribed.