Subhash Chandra to sharpen focus on health, wellness and infra

He may have resigned as the non-executive chairman in Zee Media Corporation Limited (ZMCL), but Subhash Chandra is far from done with life in media and entertainment. Having set up Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) as well as ZMCL and handed over the reins to his successors in both cases, Chandra has now turned his focus to a new brand of infotainment channels under various divisions of the Essel Group.

  • Subhash Chandra’s  stepping down as non-executive chairman of Zee Media will not mean he is completely hands-off
  • The group aims to make 200,000 quality homes available by 2022
  • Essel Infraprojects has also committed an investment of Rs 4,000 crore for all-round development of West Bengal

In September last year, Essel Group announced the launch of Living Foodz, the first among five health and wellness channels to be launched by it.

Launched under the Living Entertainment brand, the channel will accompanied by four new channels to be launched over the next 18 months. Chandra has been actively involved in the health and living space internationally.

The channel Z Living, which was also launched under the Essel Group, was launched earlier in the international markets as Veria and later re-branded as Z Living in 2014.

Health and wellness forms a significant part of his investment plans internationally. Chandra has invested $18 million thus far as part of a $90-million plan for the first phase to turn the Kutsher's Country Club in Sullivan County in New York, US into the 260,000-square-foot Z Living/Veria Nature Cure and Ayurvedic Wellness Center. This is just part of his total commitment to invest $250 million for the Wellness Center and overall wellness programming.

Apart from health and wellness, the Essel Group plans to foray into real estate with a project called Asha 2022.

The group aims to make 200,000 quality homes available by 2022 to a wider cross-section of people, as part of the 'Housing For All by 2022' scheme.

Chandra is also bullish on his infrastructure and renewable energy business. The group's infrastructure

business operates under Essel Infra. Last year, in October, media reports suggested that the group plans an initial public offering for Essel Infra, but the company has remained mum on the matter.

The company has associated with the government of Uttar Pradesh, which has commissioned a 50-megawatt (Mw) solar power project in Jalaun to boost renewable energy efforts. This state-of-the-art Rs 450-crore solar power project will play a pivotal role in reducing the carbon footprints (CO2 level) by 45,000 tonnes and will help light 25,000 houses in the state.

In Andhra Pradesh, Essel Infraprojects and Golden Concord Holdings have formed a consortium to invest $2 billion in creating 5 Gw of Solar Power Module Manufacturing Capacity by 2020. The consortium will also build and operate a Smart Industrial City to attract further investment of $10 billion by Chinese and other Indian companies.

Essel Infraprojects has also committed an investment of Rs 4,000 crore for all-round development of West Bengal and has successfully commissioned its maiden waste-to-energy plant in Tamil Nadu.

The plant will play a pivotal role in building a sustainable urban future and showcase disposal of municipal solid waste in an eco-friendly way, which is a vital aspect in building smart cities. It commissioned a similar 11.5 Mw waste-to-energy plant in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh earlier this month.

Those close to the media mogul say he will continue to offer guidance to executives at ZMCL and ZEEL, even though his focus will be on the aforementioned fields. While Punit Goenka heads ZEEL as managing director and CEO, ZMCL is led by CEO R K Arora, who was also given the additional responsibility of executive director in the board meeting on May 24.

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