Chennai: What would one call a person who has spent over Rs 15 crore of his salary and that of his wife in making agriculture a sustainable profession and rural life, pleasant? Altruistic, perhaps more than his philanthropic activities, Sabu M. Jacob’s passion is to make his village Kizhakkambalam self-reliant in all aspects and an ideal model for the rest of the country to emulate.
He is rather keen on preventing the migration of the masses to the cities abandoning agriculture which alone could feed the increasing populace.
“I know people may construe my efforts to improve the quality of people’s lives and rural economy as well, as weird, and I am even facing the ire of officials and political parties in laying pucca roads, building check dams, renovating canals and constructing houses for the poor. I am prepared to face the cases in court. But, I don’t want the people to migrate from Kizhakkambalam (in Kochi, Kerala) in despair due to want of amenities,” Mr. Sabu, who is chairman cum managing director of Kitex Garments, says. Though he is not worried about his next meal nor his personal needs, his sole ambition is to wipe the tears on the faces of the poor and provide a decent meal and modest roof above their heads.
“My father M. C. Jacob’s vision was ‘when the business grows, the country should also grow along with it.’ In accordance with this lofty mission, I want to share my profits and salary with the people of my village,” he said adding this inspired him to launch the ‘Twenty20 Kizhakkambalam’ a charity organisation through Kitex Garments to effectively contribute to the social and economic development of the area where the company operates.
His father could not complete the mission he had started in his lifetime and hence Mr. Sabu took the responsibility to improve the quality of life of about 8,000 families in Kizhakkambalam village. When Union Road Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari launched Twenty20 Kizhakkambalam’s food security scheme, he was impressed with the manner in which agricultural produce and groceries were provided the villagers at upto 70 % discount. “I tell the people, if you cut the fish and find blood, then its freshly caught or else you can return it,” he added.
Actor-politician Kamal Haasan who was impressed by the Twenty20 Kizhakkambalam model of self-sustenance, expressed the desire to replicate it in Tamil Nadu, Mr. Sabu claimed and added that he hopes to submit his success model to the Centre to be followed across the country. “By 2020, we have planned to spend about `300 crore for the development of Kizhakkambalam,” he said. His next mission is to launch a subsidised pharmacy for the villagers....