Three decades into real estate business, Janapriya Builders founder Ravinder Reddy says affordable housing will always be the heart of his company.

HYDERABAD: Three decades into ruling the real estate business, Janapriya Builders founder and chairman Ravinder Reddy says affordable housing will always be the heart of his company. The 68-year-old gets candid about his not-spoken-about love for agriculture and the education sector. In conversation with CE, he opens up about his childhood, looks back on how far he’s come and surprises you with his not-so-busy lifestyle. Excerpts:

You studied to be a civil engineer. What made you switch career paths to build homes? 
When I was working as a junior engineer in the Irrigation Department of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh government, I got to see how homes were being built, how tenders and contracts were being made. I realised that the demand to buy homes was so high, there were so many engineers and contractors. Despite this, people weren’t able to buy homes.

Affordability for middle-class buyers and lack of proper knowledge about home loans were the two biggest problems. That’s when I decided to start building homes, keeping in mind the loan eligibility of salaried employees, cost-efficiency through large-scale projects and direct marketing. All these made Janapriya stand out from the rest of the builders. To date, building affordable homes is and will always continue to be the core of Janapriya.

Did you always know or want to get this big and far? 
I was not the most studious kid, but I knew I was always different. I say this with utmost humility. My ideas, thoughts, discussions and dreams were different, realistic, practical and beyond those of people my age. I also always looked beyond my own needs and solutions. So, while I can’t say I saw this coming, I knew I wanted to be able to bring solutions to the table.

What’s the market potential of Hyderabad like today? 
Hyderabad is one of the most thriving markets for real estate and will continue to be for various reasons: Of all the metropolitan cities in the country, it is right in the middle. Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and Kolkata, all seem like they’re in different corners of the country. Next, the cost of living here is, competitively, not very high. We also have a great climate. We have no complaints about the weather for 300 of the 365 days. We’re also very welcoming of people migrating from the North, South and North-East. Language is never a barrier as the locals speak Hindi and Urdu, apart from English and Telugu. Education and healthcare are on par with other cities, and are more affordable. The pollution levels, too, are moderate, unlike all the other metropolitan cities. The IT boom has only seen an upward growth over the past decade. Digitalisation, right from education (online classes), food (delivery apps), shopping, entertainment (OTT) have all won Hyderabad good points in real estate.

Are you a family man and a doting father? Tell us more about your home.
I’m not your typical ‘always-on-the-job’ businessman, so I’ve never been the father who was away from his familial duties. My wife is half of Janapriya — her name is Priya (smiles). Both my sons decided to join me, so it’s now a family business. My older son has been working with the company for 15 years and the younger son for nine years now. I’ve never had to tell them what to do; we, as parents, gave them the freedom to choose any career path they like, and they ended up here.

What does your typical day look like? 
You’d be disappointed to not have me tell you that I wake up at 5 am, something that most successful people do. I’m not the disciplined man people think I am. But, my mind is disciplined, fast and always working. It never tires of thinking. The way I see it, all my work is done in my head. I do the thinking, problem-finding, problem-solving, creating, imagining and decision-making in my head. That’s where my work for the day ends. I’m fortunate to have been able to hire the best people, who execute what I plan extremely well. I’m not a busy or stressed man like most others. I know what I’m good at and stick to that.

Any grand plans in the pipeline for Janapriya? 
I’d not call it grand or personal, but it’s just an idea in my head: a satellite township that has everything for everyone. Right from schools, libraries and playgrounds for kids, to colleges, malls, multiplexes, auditoriums, clubs, meet-and-greet areas, hospitals, pharmacies, etc. It’ll be a town on its own with people not having to travel for hours to get to where they want to. I don’t know if this will become a reality in my lifetime, but I hope to do something along these lines.

Any other interests that take up your mind and time? 
I’m a simple man who came from a middle-class home. I love and respect the idea of agriculture and farming. I own farms and animals, whose organic produce I’m extremely proud to sell. This, and the quality education through Janapriya schools have my heart. Neither of these are for profit, they’re just something I’m passionate about.

By the way

Favourite food?
The food served in Telugu homes

Are you religious?
I’m not, but I like the concept of God. How man sleeps in peace knowing there’s a God

Apartment or villa?
Apartment, but I live in a villa

Mountains or beaches?

Coffee or tea?

A quality you appreciate in people?
Absolute honesty

An unfulfilled wish?
We’ve built 35,000 homes to date. I hope the number touches one lakh in my lifetime

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