He hates calling it charity. The term he prefers is corporate social responsibility. And he takes his responsibility very seriously. So when PNC Menon, a member of the Forbes Club of billionaires, recently announced he would give away 600 brand new flats to the poor, nobody was surprised.
Menon, the chairman of Sobha Group of Developers, is known for his philanthropy. After completing his engineering degree, Menon migrated to Oman in 1975 and started his interior decorating business. His company was the first to get an opportunity to spruce up the palaces of Sultans. Today, the Services and Trade Group of Companies is his flagship concern.
In 1995, Menon had launched Sobha Developers, named after his wife, in Bangalore. The firm has built the campuses of software giant Infosys. Sobha Developers, with revenues of Rs 11.89 bn in the last fiscal year has 29 projects underway in the country at present. The company had made a record in 2006 when its public issue was oversubscribed by 127 times, the first event of its kind in the Indian capital market. Menon is ranked 754th in the Forbes list of billionaires released this year.
Menon unveiled the Rs 5000-crore high-tech city project in Kochi a few days ago. The project happens to be the single largest investment in the state.
The 600-800 square foot apartments are meant for the poorest in Maradu village (near Kochi). He plans to complete these apartments in three years.
This apart, Menon has already adopted two villages in his native Palakkad district, providing them with world-class educational and healthcare facilities, good roads, potable water, an old age home and a number of other amenities.
Little surprise then that the 90,000-odd villagers of Kizhakkancherry and Vadakkancherry look upon Menon as a family member. “I have made enough money for myself and I don’t feel any thrill in making money now. But when you share what you have with you with those who do not have them, it gives one immense pleasure. And I believe that should be the way every corporate house should behave,” said Menon.