D. Prabhakar Rao may have started his career as a junior officer, but today, he heads the power sector as Chairman and Managing Director, Telangana Power Generation and Transmission Corporation.
Passion for work
Reflecting on his journey so far, he says, “I entered the department in 1969 as a junior level officer. Since then, I have been passionate towards my job and, over the years, emerged as a better person whilst retaining an emotional connect. I am happy that I have grown with the company.” He adds, “I never thought of venturing into other departments, although I had several lucrative offers. I am pleased that I had the opportunity to serve the people.”
Long association with Chief Minister KCR
Having known Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao from his college days, the Warangal-born Prabhakar Rao describes him as being “just as he was”, adding, “He is someone who always thinks big and that’s what I have learnt and inculcated. His broadmindedness is inspiring.”
“I am grateful to KCR garu for trusting me and giving me the opportunity to lead the team and I’m glad that I am living up to his expectations. I have been associated with him for the last 22 years and he has been gracious enough to mention me several times in the State Assembly. What else do I need?” asks Prabhakar Rao, who was entrusted with the mission of steering the state towards 24-hour power supply.
Sensing opportunities in challenges
So, how did he go about the task? “Procuring the power (to meet the shortage), strengthening the power transmission and distribution system was the way forward. And that happened because CM garu asked me to head Power Generation and Transmission Corporation for effective coordination between the two departments,” he reveals, adding, “Also, CM garu relentlessly pursued the Government of India and PGCIL to ensure that a corridor (for transmission of power from northern to southern grid) was commissioned, because of which you can see the results.”
For someone from a finance background, wasn’t heading the power sector a daunting task? “I always tell my engineers that ‘nothing moves without power and power doesn’t move without finance’. That’s the reason I am heading the department,” he says, adding, “CM garu gave me the required time. He was determined to have a turnaround in the power sector within a couple of years. If you are diffident, you cannot perform. I took all the challenges as opportunities, and could enjoy my work.”
Prabhakar Rao also believes that team work is the key to success. “I have achieved all the awards and rewards only with the support of my team,” he says, adding, “When you accept a responsibility, you have to either perform or perish. Since I was also the joint secretary and secretary of the student planning forum during my college days, leadership came to me naturally.”
“Jealousy is the biggest enemy and you must know how to live with it. If someone says that he’s not jealous, I don’t believe him. Even today, people are jealous of me and the power sector that is performing well (smiles). But I feel bad when people criticise me without knowing the facts. The best way to silence detractors is to let your work do the talking. All these have made me a tougher person,” he says.
Young at heart
Interestingly, for Prabhakar Rao, age is just a number. “I never felt that I was growing old. I may be 69, but I am young at heart,” he beams, adding, “I never feel tired and it is God’s gift to me. I am always competitive and my inner strength keeps me motivated.”
A family man
Over the years, Prabhakar Rao has aced the art of work-life balance. “Unless you are happy and peaceful at home, you can’t excel at work. My wife, Leela and I decided that only one of us will work and she was very understanding. In my family life of 42 years, there has never been an unpleasant occasion and that’s because of our togetherness. I never carry work back home and vice versa. But from the last three years, it’s a bit different (laughs) with me heading the department,” he shares.
Prabhakar Rao says that his only hobby is to spend time with his grandchildren. “I don’t watch films and am a teetotaler, but I go out with my family every quarter and spend time with the kids,” he reveals, adding, “My daughter Lavanya and son-in-law are dental surgeons; my son Chaitanya is the CEO of a multinational company and my daughter-in-law is a physician. We all stay together and my wife takes care of all of us; she’s the boss at home. God and our CM have given me more than what I deserve,” says the family man.