Karnataka Governor Hans Raj Bhardwaj has picked Coffee Board of India chairman Gogineni Venkata Krishna Rao to succeed A.K.M. Nayak who left the Raj Bhavan at the end of July 2009 to become additional chief secretary in the Karnataka government.
It will be one more Telugu-speaking IAS officer in an influential office in Karnataka. The state Chief Minister's Office already has three key officials including two IAS officers who are Telugu-speaking.
Krishna Rao, 56, a 1982-batch Karnataka cadre IAS officer who hails from Andhra Pradesh, told, "We are used to moving places in our jobs and I only I hope I live to the expectations of my new job there. Every job has its challenges and responsibilities."
For almost five years since he took over as chairman of Coffee Board in May 2005, the soft-spoken officer served as a friend, philosopher and guide to the coffee industry in India. The Coffee Board, an autonomous body functioning under the Central ministry of commerce and industry, was set up under an Act of Parliament in 1942 to focus on "research, development, extension, quality upgradation, market information, and the domestic and external promotion of Coffees of India". Under Rao's guidance, coffee exports marginally rose to two lakh tons in the current fiscal -- a whiff of energising aroma -- especially factoring lower output because of adverse weather conditions and increase in domestic consumption.
Rau had also worked on several measures to boost demand for coffee -- locally the coffee sector reported six per cent growth rate and outside more than two per cent. "It won't be fair to attribute these good things to me," Rao told, "we all worked together for the success of the Board's objectives." It's exactly the kind of lowkey characteristic that helped the Governor's office to zero in on Rao after some late night consultation with the state chief secretary S.V. Ranganath the last few days.
An MSc in agriculture, Rau will find the Raj Bhavan environment a totally different one for him to cultivate and nurture.
Rao will be entering a fairly tough territory serving as a link between the imposing colonial landmark and the state Government whose functionaries sit in another 1950s granite edifice called the Vidhana Soudha just next door. Close encounters of a powerful kind.