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Why Balvinder Sahni bought a number plate more expensive than his car

The most expensive cars may not fetch thirty-three million UAE Dirhams (600 Million INR) but one number plate in Dubai does. The number plate says RSG, Raj Sahni Group. RSG group are into buying and selling properties in Dubai for the past 25 years but in past five years, they have entered into the development of properties. Balvinder Sahni shone into the limelight when his bidding won him the number plate in the auction hosted by RTA. The news carried him everywhere via social networking sites and newspapers. He was trolled by a lot of people and was being criticised for spending lavishly just to buy a number plate.

“None of the trollers knew that the money used for buying the most expensive number plate would be going to needy. The charity auctions in Dubai are a proof that the business is not in decline as people rumour it about. This was one economical reading”, says Balvinder without being worried about the trollers or rumours.

“Yes, there is a slowdown in Gulf with oil prices coming down and the war in Yemen, but Dubai still remains the strongest economy and whenever the market goes down, money pours in Dubai.”

Balvinder Sahni is originally from Delhi but has hardly gone there more than ten times. The family business of car tyres sprouted In Kuwait and grew into many brands since 1952. “I moved on from this business in 1993,” he says, “and started my own venture in property dealings. One of my projects Qasr Sabah is worth 400 million UAE Dirhams. I had announced completion in eighteen months but got done within fifteen months. Now we are developing 850 million UAE Dirham worth project in Jumeirah Village. It is a residential development. Coming soon is a five-star hotel project on main Sheikh Zayed road which is a very big achievement.

Will Dubai face a meltdown?

I have been hearing these unwanted rumours since last twenty-five years. Markets do undergo corrections but it makes it healthy and we are in a recovering stage. Dubai will start picking up early next year. There have already been lots of property transactions since last few months.

What is the Key protection to survive in this market?

Don’t be a gambler. Just buy within your capacity. Unfortunately, there are some speculators here. If they have ten million in their pocket, they buy worth 100 million. I succeeded because I did not extend my purchase more than my pocket could afford. By speculating I could have become much bigger than I am, but I am not a gambler.

Many companies have lost money in Dubai, what could be the reasons?

They did not study the market well, did not take advice from the right people and fell for cheap brands, especially property developers. If you work with a semi government company you will never lose. I always work with government companies. Your money is safe in a bank but I can’t risk that way with a private company of so and so country where if the company collapses your money is gone. I worked in the interiors of UAE but since 2002 I have been working alongside the Government companies.

How does it work securely?

We buy plots from the government and develop them, or at times I buy buildings straight away. I have bought three buildings. I invested and they built it for me. My money remains safe and government companies cannot go bust, so it is a secured deal.

Dubai makes Miracles

Dubai makes miracles; they have speedy access and no hazards in the passing of plans. Two weeks back I was in Kuwait, working on a Tower project. It took me eighteen months to get the plan approved, but in Dubai, such an approval takes only two months. Genuine projects are highly respected in this part of the world. In our own country India too, we can make such miracles.

Any Projects in India?

Since the market is sluggish in India it is a good time to invest in India so we may go to Delhi and Mumbai. There too, I will prefer residential projects. The Indian economy is good and will improve.

India is a treasure of natural bounties

India should know that it is one of the richest countries in the world and it should invite the NRIs to invest. If India offers more flexibility to NRIs then there will be a flow of wealth from overseas worth trillions. There will be tremendous growth if India could work out something like a free zone. There should be a different access for NRIs.  It generates more jobs and will ensure a huge flow of Ideas too. If India opens up, you will see trillions of Dollars flooding in. There is a huge potential in India. Indian Prime Minister wants affordable houses for the middle class. If I get an opportunity I can build houses worth for only five lac Indian Rupees for a unit.  The doors for investment should not be opened temporarily and should not be closed by the next government. I would not mind any state of India even Kerala. If the Government offers me free land along with quick access to approvals and other documentation then I will build cheapest houses India has ever seen.

My Inspirational Business Leader

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai. His visionary opportunities have helped many millionaires grow into billionaires. Dubai has only four million people, ratio wise if you compare with a country like India you will not find so many Billionaires there.

My father trained me to do business in the most efficient and ethical manner.

Personal preferences and legacy

I hate people who lie and waste my and their time. I prefer good cars, good food, travelling, unique number plates of cars and mobiles. I trust astrology, numerology and have my own advisors whom I consult before buying.

I always dreamt of becoming a big man, yet it matters how I chose my way to the top. I am still 44. If I leave a legacy behind it would be hard work.

Which other business are you into?

None except real estate. I have lost a huge amount of money in ten other businesses. I love to put my money in those streams whose flow I know.

My family

I’ve got two boys from my first wife and a baby girl from my second wife. My first wife is Indian and second wife is Polish. I want my children to grow with the learning process and perform better than me. I want them to pick up my business and learn from me. I am a professor of my own field – developing projects. It easy if they learn from me. If my children want to do something else then I will not say no to them, but I know at the end of the day I am making an empire here for them.

How do you define success?

As a person earns more money his generosity should also grow and think about humanity while remaining humble.

For upcoming Entrepreneurs

My father gave me a souvenir with a motivational statement written on it. Hard work is like stairs and luck are like a lift. Sometimes lift may fail but stairs will always offer you a route to the top.

Attachment with Dubai: It’s time to return UAE’s goodness with goodness

Balvinder disagrees that Punjabis are very reluctant in spending, “I have a passion for possessing exclusive car number plates and mobile numbers, and since UAE has given us so much,it is time for every big man to return the obligations of UAE with best returns. RTA uses 90% of the money received in the auction for charity. The remaining ten percent goes in the stock exchange. Even last year we purchased a number plate and the entire amount went to Scientific Research at Princess Jalila Foundation.”

Cochin Herald
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Cochin Herald

All stories by: Cochin Herald