Thursday, February 01, 2007

Lakshmi Mittal

SADULPUR: A tiny Rajasthani desert hamlet in Churu district is all set to turn the corner. It will have a modern hospital, gushing drinking water and a Rs 5 crore community centre. All this not because of state magnanimity but because of a quirk of fate.

It was here 54 years ago that Lakshmi Mittal, Britain's richest man and the No.3 on the Forbes list, was born without the luxury of even a labour room, at a small haveli midwived by a local dai .

On Monday evening, Mittal and his family landed in Sadulpur to the welcome tune of a folk song traditionally reserved for war heroes and a shower of petals. Villagers lined the main street to receive the motorcade which brought in Mittal, wife Usha, daughter Vanisha and his father Mohan Lal.

It was the first visit by the family in four decades, although Mittal had come here once in 2005, before he was crowned Steel King with a net worth of $ 25 billion.

It was his third ever visit to his home after he jumped 59 places on the billionaire ladder in 2006 to emerge No. 3 on the Forbes list. The last time Mittal and his wife came to Rajasthan was in 2005 to inaugurate the Lakshmi N Mittal Institute of Information Technology's new campus in Jaipur. This time, Mittal launched a Rs 5 crore community centre in Sadulpur named after his mother Gita Devi.

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