Nagpur is in the hot seat and raking in billions. There is nobody here who doesn’t walk down the city’s ‘Crorepati Galli’ and aspire to own a bungalow here. A survey by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) says Nagpur has seen a phenomenal rise in crorepatis or billionaires - from just a handful about ten years ago to 438 billionaires.
Though there are more billionaires in Delhi (5,085) or Mumbai (4,439 crorepatis), Nagpur has the highest growth rate of millionaires. The city is home to the well-known Pendharkars of the Vicco group and Sharmas of Baidyanath.
The study shows that there is more to Nagpur than oranges and Vidarbha. In 2002, there were 10, 417 households with an annual income of over Rs 10 lakh in Nagpur as against 1,199 in 1996. In terms of percentage, that is a 770 per cent growth in six years. Mumbai with a ‘billionaire growth rate’ of 319 per cent and Delhi with 274 per cent were the third and second slowest among the 10 cities that were surveyed.
"Nagpur is a peaceful city unlike others where businessmen face extortion, and are kidnapped and threatened by the mafia," said N Kumar, a leading city-based builder, film financer and one of the crorepatis. "The infrastructure and quality of life here have attracted several businessmen and industrialists from Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The international airport, cargo hub and the Boeing unit have changed the way others see the city."
Satish Goel, another crorepati who shifted from Raipur a few years ago, said Nagpur will be India’s next big metro. “The city has the advantage of providing skilled and technical personnel," he said.