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Ashok Khanna [1967/BT/ME], Vice Chairman, C&S Electric Ltd

ASHOK KHANNA, born in 1945, son of Late Mr. Justice P.N. Khanna is the Co-Founder and now the Vice Chairman C&S Electric Ltd. (formerly Controls & Switchgear Co. Ltd. & Group Companies).

While still an engineering student at IIT, Madras, the concept of starting industry was mooted along with his brother Mr R N Khanna (an IITian of 62 Batch from Kharagpur) who was still in Germany and working with Electrical Components and Control Panel manufacturing companies there. The name of the company “Controls & Switchgear Co.” was decided in correspondence and the first letters of introduction seeking information from foreign manufacturers were sent in the summer vacation of 1965. Similar efforts continued till Mr R N Khanna returned to India and the company CSC was floated as a partnership in 1966. In April 1967, after completing engineering studies at IIT, Madras he joined the company on a full time basis

Being engineering graduates with exposure to world class equipment in Europe, the C&S stress was always on outstanding quality and innovative engineering designs which enabled quick recognition with customers of repute and introduction of various innovative products in the very early stages.

1967 – 1972: Despite being located in a non conforming industrial area at Rohtak road, made outstanding developments which include:

  • Traffic signals were developed and introduced for the first time in India, initially under a license from the National Physical Laboratory and subsequently intricate systems involving green waves and centralized control system were developed and installed all over the country.
  • Cage Clamp Terminal Blocks not manufactured in India till then and became sole supplier of this for several years to BHEL, Instrumentation Ltd., Siemens to name a few.
  • Chosen by Ministry of Defence – despite their small size based on competence to develop a large range of Special Electrical Equipment for Leander type Frigates being built at Mazagon Docks, in competition with much larger companies, such as, English Electric, GE & L&T. This enabled setting up manufacturing facilities including a foundry for aluminium casting for non porous special aluminium castings, Machine shop, Assembly lines and special testing facility to meet stringent defence specifications.

1972 – 80 Achievements include:

  • The first industrial unit set up at Okhla and C&S moved out of the non conforming areas and intensified on the above mentioned activities while taking up additional products, such as, the manufacture of a complete range of Relays used in Strowger exchanges manufactured at ITI. Millions of these relays are still in use in the old exchanges.
  • Developed a complete range of Drawout Switchgears Motor & Power Control Centres, first supplied in projects like Neyveli Lignite and then to various electricity boards, Steel Plants, Hydro Electric projects etc.
  • Organizational restructuring and setting up of professional management to take up larger jobs and to diversify.

1981 – 90 Achievements:


  • This was the most vital period in the rapid growth of C&S, during which, several new factories were set up in Okhla & Noida, new intricate products taken up for manufacture in collaborations and in Joint ventures, JV companies set up and reorganization done and several professionals added.
  • This was a period when C&S started becoming a Group of companies.
  • Full fledged recognition and acceptance of C&S products in the power sector took place and prestigious customers like NTPC and Atomic Energy Corporation besides various electricity boards started buying our custom built Panels incorporating several products developed, manufactured and tested by us in Joint ventures and under foreign collaborations
  • Interacted with collaborators and joint venture partners, set up technical and commercial teams, monitored technical know-how transfers and implementation of manufacturing facilities using these know-hows. Indigenisation of thousands of components and manufacturing process was undertaken successfully and products type tested in national laboratories for acceptance by prestigious customers
  • An extensive marketing network was created from the scratch and a distributor chain developed for selling of standard components manufactured in direct competition with Siemens & L&T. Our products were years ahead in design and performance and this made C&S the technology leader in the electrical industry and compelled all other manufacturers over the years to bring in matching new designs rapidly.

1991-2000 Achievements:

  • While consolidating on the achievements of the previous years, undertook and developed new products, floated new companies and new Joint ventures. During this period also entered into the export market successfully
  • Started manufacturing Generator Busducts, a field in which C&S is the Number 1 player in India and amongst the few leading manufacturers world wide. The busduct division further expanded into all kinds of busbars and busudcts including Seggregated and non-seggregated busudcts and a large variety of Bus Trunkings for which C&S remains the only manufacturer in the country competing successfully with foreign companies in India and abroad
  • This period saw C&S becoming the 3rd largest manufacturer of Control Panels as also a significant player in the market for products like Air Circuit breakers, Load Break Switches, Switch Fuse Units, Power Contactors, Control Relays, Overload Relays, Terminal blocks and la large range of accessories, such as, Push Buttons and Pilot Lamps to name a few.
  • Started manufacturing in JV with SEG of Germany, Protection Relays and Control modules for special applications, such as, Genset AMF, Synchronization and Load Management systems etc
  • In JV with AVK of Germany, diversified into Rotating machine and started manufacturing Alternators from 30 KVA to 3150 KVA. Started exporting the same and became the sole suppliers to Caterpillar, India.
  • In JV with RS of UK, started a totally new concept of selling industrial components including electrical, electronic, pneumatic and mechanical products through a mail order service and a 2000 page catalogue listing over a 100,000 components.
  • To come over the slump in the electrical industry in 1996, undertook extensive type testing of our standard switchgear and controlgear components in foreign laboratories and achieved international Trade marks for the products for exports started successfully. Today, nearly 25% of our turnover is export of products, the kind exported by none other in the electrical industry and over 70 countries now.
  • Introduced computerization in the Group and in-house development of several softwares for electrical designs and products, materials management and production planning was done.
  • All manufacturing facilities were ISO 9000 accredited reflecting strengthening of the systems to ensure continuous and consistent quality products and services.

2001 – 2010:

  • New generation of professionals from within the family inducted successfully, namely, Anuj Khanna and Rishi Khanna, both Engineering graduates with MBA in Management from American Universities as also Aditya Khanna, an Engineering Graduate and a Chartered Accountant (from Ernst & Young, UK). These young professionals from the family have taken up responsibilities in different areas to further expand the business, reorganize the management structure and prepare the Group for undertaking much larger and newer projects in the coming years. They are now the Managing Directors of C&S
  • Set up another ten manufacturing plants, nine in Haridwar and one in Pant Nagar in addition to the existing Nine in Noida and Delhi set up earlier. The new facilities are much larger, ultra modern and equipped with the latest CNC machines to manufacture components, assembly and testing lines to manufacture world class quality products acceptable not only by prestigious customers within the country, but, for exports as well.
  • Undertook a new JV with Himoinsa of Spain to manufacture in India’s largest manufacturing facility created at Pant Nagar, world class Diesel Generating sets
  • In another JV set up with Gewiss of Italy, started manufacture of Plate Switches, Light fittings, Industrial Plugs and Sockets and various Wiring accessories and later bought back the Gewiss shares
  • Extensive R&D facilities set up to design a totally new series of Air Circuit Breakers upgrading the old designs as well as upgrading of switches and other products of the Group, a complete range of MCBs has also been developed in-house. Several new protection & functional relays also developed. All new products being successfully marketed both for domestic market and for exports.
  • Started manufacture of MV Switchgear – Circuit Breakers, Ring Main Units and Panels in a new Plant at Greater Noida in JV with Efacec – a leading manufacturer of such products in Portugal
  • Achieved successfully design, testing and manufacturing of 660MW and 800 MWbusudcts and now prepared to expand this upto 1000 MWs of Generator Busducts. Most 660 and 500 MWs Busducts installed in India are from C&S.
  • Several JV partners equity bought out and reorganization of Group companies’ consolidation and preparing for further growth. Attracted PE investment from GE as well.

2011 Onwards:

  • Set up a manufacturing facility in China – C&S Nantong Electric Ltd. situated off Shanghai. Completed testing to Chinese standards various Controlgear Products and started sales in Chinese market.
  • Made our first overseas acquisition – Etacom ISD B.V, Holland with manufacturing facilities in Belgium, Design & Sales offices in Belgium, Holland, UK & Germany. The company manufacturers special range of “Cast Resin Insulated Bus Bars” in both MV & LV range which find an application in Petrochemical Industries as also in High Rise Buildings, Metros and several Industries where hazardous environments exist or power has to be relayed underground. With this product line included C&S has the worlds largest and a complete range of Busducts

C&S Electric today is a medium sized industry with several products for electric Power Distribution, Control and Generation with vast manufacturing activities and employ over 3500 people with over 500 engineers having its own R&D facilities and catering to important market segments in the power sector in particular with over 20% turnover in exports. The company crossed a turnover of Rs.1000 Crores by 2011