Entrepreneur who helped the disadvantaged
Chennai: B.S. Abdur Rahman, who passed away on Wednesday, was an entrepreneur, educationist and philanthropist to whom Chennai owes the existence of many infrastructural landmarks.
Born on October 15, 1927, in Kilakarai, Ramanathapuram district, Rahman founded East Coast Constructions and Industries (ECCI) in 1962. His construction company was responsible for most of the structures that came up post Independence, such as the Gemini and Kodambakkam flyovers, Anna Nagar Tower, the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chepauk, Valluvar Kottam, Lighthouse, Raheja Towers and Citi Center Mall.
“ECCI were the first people to construct a flyover in the whole of South East Asia. It was the Anna flyover. New Assembly House, which is now a multi specialty hospital, Anna Centenary Library and many more were their contributions to the city. They were one of the pioneers in the construction industry, not just in the city, but in the world, especially Dubai,” said R. Radhakrishnan, former national president of the Builders’ Association.
In 1972, Rahman’s ECCI became one of the prime conglomerates, ETA-Ascon, which focused on construction, shipping and related businesses with Dubai as its base. Rahman worked for the economically weaker sections through his Seethakathi Trust & Zakaat Fund Foundation, setting up educational institutions across the state and also provided economic support for more than 40 institutions.
T.R. Pachamuthu, founder of SRM group of institutions, said, ”B.S.Abdur Rahman was a pioneer, not only in the construction field, but also in education. His contributions were not only in India, but spread across many of the Arab countries. He was instrumental in providing job opportunities and uplifting the lives of the downtrodden.” He laid the foundation for the Crescent College in Vandalur in 1984 which went on to become the B S Abdur Rahman University in 2008. A total of 12 educational institutions, including a university, schools, hospitals and orphanages in both urban and rural areas in Tamil Nadu, are some of his major contributions.