He is not only an autorickshaw driver turned billionaire but a great philanthropist and a social worker as well. During COVID 19 pandemic second wave, he came forward and kept his trucks at the disposal of local administration which facilitated supply of oxygen to dozens of Govt run hospitals around Nagpur. in Maharashtra. Thus he got the name Oxygen-Man of India.
Since I read about this inspiring person namely Pyare Zia Khan @ Pyare Khan, I had a great urge to meet him. This finally matured recently when I was on a trip to Kutch Gujarat and from there I travelled to Nagpur. A friend from Gondia district of Maharashtra Haji Abrar Siddiqui who is also a reputed social worker and businessman arranged my meeting with Mr Khan.
Pyare Zia Khan is a multifaceted person. He is an inspiration for those youth struggling to become great achievers in their lives. Pyare Khan is a motivational factor for social workers and activists. Mr Khan is also a role model for many management graduates who love to become successful entrepreneurs like him.
Pyare Khan told me that he could not get proper education due to poverty but is now very much concerned about the education of Muslim community especially. He has plans to set up some educational institutions for poor and deprived people, plus constructing a hospital with the support of Maharashtra Govt.
Recognition by IIM Ahmedabad
Among the top rags-to-riches stories of Indian entrepreneurs, Pyare Zia Khan’s journey has been very much difficult. From an autorikhsha driver to bus driver and then a truck driver, Khan had to struggle a lot. His journey is inspiring as well At the age of 19 he met with an accident and had to leave the job in a local courier company.
He purchased an autorikhsha in 1995 and would earn Rs 100 to 150 a day like his fellow drivers. He then set up a goal to earn at least Rs 300 per day which he achieved by 2001. In 2002 he purchased a 50 seater bus, but this new venture didn’t give him enough financial gains and ultimately he sold the bus. In 2004 he purchased a truck.
A local bank provided a loan as well but he had to struggle a lot for it. For some years Khan worked very hard and kept moving in his truck on very difficult terrains like Delhi-Jammu -Srinagar Highway (NH-44), Assam, Nagaland and other areas in North East India.
After a few years of purchasing a truck , Pyare Khan brought another truck and within 2 to 3 years he had almost 6 to 7 trucks. In 2018 he purchased 100 Trailers from Mahindra & Mahindra and very soon he was awarded by the company. The Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A) awarded him for his achievement and he was taken as a case study by IIM-A and is being taught in several management institutions.
Supplying Oxygen during COVID 19
While watching TV during the COVID 19 second wave, and seeing people dying due to lack of oxygen supply in hospitals, Pyare Khan decided to come to the forefront. “I was disturbed a lot when I was watching the news on TV channels. I wanted to do something. With the support of Union Minister Nitin Gadkere I worked on the ground and spent more than Rs 1 crore to procure and transport 400 MTs of medical liquid oxygen” Pyare Khan told this author.
The supply of 400 metric tonnes of medical liquid oxygen to government hospitals in and around Nagpur saved the lives of hundreds of people. A newspaper report published in Times of India in April 2021 said that Nagpur district administration had offered to pay him for oxygen transportation, but Pyare Khan refused it saying the expenditure was his duty-bound as charity ‘zakat’ during the holy month of Ramzan.
Pyare Khan told me that the expenditure on oxygen was a service for humanity during COVID 19 pandemic. In fact Khan had to pay three times more to hire two cryogenic gas tankers from Bellary Karnataka and he didn’t bargain and paid the amount. Newspaper reports say that Pyare Khan paid Rs 14 lakh more than the market price for the oxygen tankers.
Pyare Khan’s company M/S Ashmi Road Carriers Pvt Ltd owns a fleet of 175 trucks from Volvo, Ashok Leyland, Mahindra, and TATA. In addition to it the company also utilizes the services of around 2500 to 3000 market trucks as well.
During my interaction with Pyare Khan, he gave me an assurance to provide jobs to educated Kashmiri youth in his logistic company. Khan in addition to heading a Rs 600 Cr worth company is the Member National Road Safety Council under Ministry of Road Transport & Highways.
He is also the Chairman of Hazrat Baba Tajuddin Trust which is planning to construct a 500 bedded hospital in Nagpur. The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkare who is the local MP of Nagpur has already given the directions to the local administration to start the work on this project.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.