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Maharashtra CSR projects have a Big B Stamp

Maharashtra CSR projects have a Big B Stamp

MUMBAI: At a meeting called by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis with top industrialists to discuss a CSR initiative, the list of attendees included a stalwart of Indian cinema -Amitabh Bachchan.

The meeting, a fortnight ago, was to device a way to change the fortunes of 10,000 villages in the state. The actor, whose presence tends to lift everything he’s associated with, has been involved as consultant-cum-advisor on at least three big-ticket projects by the state government, a fact that not many are aware of.

One such project is the Internation al Finance Cen tre planned at the Bandra Kurla Complex, where Bachchan is a special invitee at meetings of the task force to over see its develop ment. The task force comprises former minister of state for finance Jayant Sinha, former president of Nasdaq Magnus Bocker, and Chanda Kochhar, managing director, ICICI Bank.

Bachchan is also an advisor in the revamp plan for Film City in Goregaon. The most well-known of all the projects, however, is the state’s tiger conservation project, of which the actor is brand ambassador. State government officials ET spoke with said the actor was roped in on so many projects because he brought a lot more to the table than just star appeal. “He gives valuable inputs and ideas and is not afraid to speak his mind,“ said a bureaucrat.

Giving an example of the actor’s plainspeak, the bureaucrat said, “Last year, a senior official gave a presentation to top officials, including the chief minister and Bachchan on redeveloping Film City in Goregaon to encourage more tourists. The official had giv en an extravagant presentation about how the new Film City would look. Bachchan then said that while the presentation was good, was it doable. He then asked for a more practical and feasible redevelopment for Film City,“ the bureaucrat said. The plan was eventually reworked.

Another official pointed out how Bachchan is playing a key role creation of an arts and culture pavilion at the International Finance Centre at BKC.

Maharashtra’s finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said the actor’s biggest attribute was that he is humble and hands-on. “Unlike other brand ambassadors, he is not just interested in having his face used for publicity , but gives extremely valuable inputs. On the tiger conservation project, he told us how we should honour the lowest rung of the forest guards as they form the bulwark against poachers,“ said Mungantiwar. The state government is now going to implement the suggestion.

State officials said the actor has not taken any payment from for the projects he is involved in and promoting.

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