திங்கள், ஜனவரி 12, 2009

Abdul Kalam also resigns from EMRI board



HYDERABAD: In the wake of corporate scam in Satyam, former President A. P. J Abdul Kalam on Monday resigned from his position as Chairman Emeritus at the Emergency Management Research Institute (EMRI) whose chairman was B. Ramalinga Raju.

With his decision to step down, the total number of those who have resigned from the 12-member board has gone up to seven. MD and CEO of ICICI Bank K. V. Kamath, former NASSCOM Chairman Kiran Karnik, CII Chief Mentor Tarun Das and Krishna Palepu of the Harvard Business School have already put in their papers apart from B. Ramalinga Raju and former Satyam Managing Director B. Rama Raju. The latter two resigned in the wake of the Rs. 7,100-crore scam in Satyam.

Ambulance service

EMRI has been running the ‘108’ ambulance service since 2005 as a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative by members of Byrraju family, but the State government later entered the picture and now funds it to the extent of 95 per cent.

The remaining five per cent, which works out to about Rs. 8 crore a year for operations in Andhra Pradesh is met by members of the Byrraju family, according to EMRI CEO Venkat Changavalli.

The resignations will be submitted for acceptance at the next meeting of the Governing Board, to be held in 10 days.

However, Mr. Venkat said they would not impact ambulance services.

It is safe in the hands of professionals. The 1,534 EMRI ambulances handle an average of 8,000 emergencies in the eight States, he said.

MoU signed

Referring to the operations in States other than Andhra Pradesh, he said he had signed an MoU with Punjab on January 1 while the Uttar Pradesh government had evinced interest.

In the eight States where 108 service is in operation -- Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Assam – the people handling operations were not worried about the Satyam scam affecting operations, Mr. Venkat said.

“When we reach the 10,000-ambulance mark, which is our target, we will require a total of Rs. 1,500 crore.”

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