Rift with my sons is a media creation: Bajaj

"You media people created the so-called rift between me and my sons. My son Rajiv is a good businessman and is doing a good job at Bajaj Auto as the managing director. You people put those words into my mouth during an interview with a television channel," Bajaj retorted to a specific question from PTI on whether he still regrets his statement that he was hurt by his son's decision to discontinue production of the iconic Bajaj scooters.

"In fact, Rajiv was right in his decision to discontinue the scooters business by the end of next March. The fact is that we are not even selling 1,000 units a month. The market has changed and the demand is for gearless scooters today, but we are still stuck with the geared ones. So it was a good move," senior Bajaj told newsmen at the
Indian Merchants Chamber here where he inaugurated a cabin named after his late uncle and freedom fighter Ramakrishna Bajaj.

Bajaj went on to say that, "I still agree to disagree with my sons on many matters. At the same time, I am happy that they are running the business in right direction." Early December last year, Rajiv had announced that the 50-year-old scooter brand Hamara Bajaj, which over the years has become a generic name in the country, would become history from end-March 2011 and that the group would be concentrating on bikes from next April to accelerate growth in the bikes segment as part of the company's aim to become the world's biggest bike maker.

The senior Bajaj had reacted to it saying he was not only unconvinced, but was "hurt" by his son's decision. "I feel bad, I feel hurt," Rahul had said. "I can't say 'harm the company and its shareholders by doing something you should not do. But I am still not convinced. Rajiv has tried to explain it to me," Rahul Bajaj had told NDTV in an interview mid- December last year.

To this Rajiv had reacted that, "I care less for the solution from emotions, I believe more in the magic of logic." The senior Bajaj further said today that having decided to stop the production of scooters does not mean that we will not revisit the segment. "Currently our bikes are doing extremely well. We may look at re-entering the scooters arena, may be with a new technology as the market is for gearless scooters," the senior Bajaj said.

Bajaj, who is also a Rajya Sabha member, said, "the Bajaj group is sitting on a cash reserve of Rs 29,000 crore. We are a conservative company when it comes to spending money, but we are happy with it. I am also happy that we are a zero debt company."

Of the Rs 29,000 crore, the group holding company Bajaj Holdings has a cash pile of Rs 23,000 crore, Bajaj Auto has around Rs 6,000 crore and Bajaj Finservices around Rs 2,000 crore, Bajaj explained. Asked about his outlook for the economy he said, with a good monsoon economic growth looks positive at 8.5 per cent.

"The country will continue to grow by at least 8.5 per cent unless some very adverse incident take place," he said. "High food inflation is a matter of concern," he said, adding, however, "it should come down by March next."

Food inflation fell marginally to 16.24 per cent during the week ended September 25, from 16.44 per cent in the previous week.

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