As a young man, Kantisen loved Art, wanted to be an artist, got trained at Shantiniketan. But at elder brother C C Shroff’s calling, he joined Excel, started living at the factory, forgot about Art.
Everything about him had the elegance of simplicity, showering love to all, always an optimist believing that a solution could always be found whatever be the challenges. At times, he would be very tough and demanding, first on himself and then others, at the same time, he would be extremely sensitive to genuine problems and would give abundant love and care when needed.
He was a great technocrat, who would find innovative, out of box, very cost-effective solutions to very complicated problems. He had been a technocrat not only in Chemical technical sense, but equally in social and environmental fields.
Excel under his leadership took enormous challenges in producing some of the products which were considered impossible to be produced in India. Elemental Phosphorous, an important Raw Material for Excel, & imported into India, was produced by Excel with inhouse development of technology & project management. Excel became the first in Asia to manufacture – Endosulfan – a broad spectrum pesticide molecule – on a commercial scale entirely through its own in-house efforts. Excel became first in Asia to manufacture Butene Diol (BD), a basic raw material used in the preparation of Endosulfan and that too in an innovative safer way. Excel was a pioneer in making Aluminium Phosphide for the first time in India. Until then it was manufactured by only one company in the world. Excel became the second in the world to produce Glyphosate, a herbicide, strictly through in-house efforts. Each and every product has its own story of Shri Kantisen’s leadership, inspiration and guidance.
A close disciple of Swami Vivekanand, his life’s mission was to share love and knowledge. When he went to Bhavnagar to set up a factory, he saw a leprosy home just opposite the site. Many will be surprised to know that two of the leprosy patients became the first employees of the Excel Bhavnagar Plant. His genuine concern for people, society and environment changed the quality of life of not only in arid area of Kutch, but from different parts of the country.
Keenly interested in rural development work, Kakaji devoted his time and attention for more than four decades to the drought prone areas of Kutch and other places including activities like watershed management, drought-proofing, cattle care, social forestry & other natural resource management and employment generation through Excel-sponsored NGOs like Shree Vivekanand Research & Training Institute and Shrujan. He was wholeheartedly supported by his dear wife Chandaben. It was due to his initiative that when severe cyclones struck Kutch successively in 1998 and 1999, he brought together about 14 active NGOs working in Kutch and formed a federal organisation of NGOs called Kutch Navnirman Abhiyan, or ABHIYAN for short, with a view to generate collective response to the natural calamities and effectively work towards rehabilitation of the affected areas. Thanks to his foresight of creating ABHIYAN that when the Unprecedented Earthquake of 26th January 2001 devastated most parts of Kutch, the member NGOs of ABHIYAN responded spontaneously and were in the forefront to reach out for rescue, relief, rehabilitation and re-building programmes in Kutch in a very cost effective and rapid manner.
Sustainable development and responsible use of natural resources was a subject most dear to him. Under his guidance and leadership, Rukmavati River Basin Project in Kutch was conceived & executed. Several Check Dams were made. Excel under his leadership became pioneer in converting city waste into compost, very important for soil health. It not only helped in solving the urban problem of waste disposal, but also the end product being used as nutrition to the plants. His contribution in water management and waste management decades ago, has become country’s priority now.
He also devoted time in guiding the Scouts and was awarded the SILVER STAR AWARD by the Hon’ble President of India for his contribution to the Scout Movement in Maharashtra in 1991. He was also associated with the activities of Ramakrishna Mission, and was actively involved in its “Disaster Management Projects” in Surat, Andhra Pradesh, Morbi, Latur and Orissa.
He was conferred the “Lifetime Achievement Award” by ChemExcil in 2011, for his contribution to the development and growth of the Indian Chemical Industry. He was the first recipient of the ENVIRONMENTALIST OF THE YEAR : 1983” award instituted by CHEMTECH Foundation - in recognition of his pioneering work on environment issues. He was chosen as ‘MAN OF THE YEAR’ for 1995 by “THE WEEK” magazine of Malayala Manorama and the list goes on.
Excel is today, what it is today, is mainly on account of the immense contribution made by Shri Kantisen Shroff and his elder brothers Shri C C Shroff and G C Shroff. Excel remembers Shri Kantisen Shroff with pride and devotion for his contribution.