Worth the Risk?

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," April 12, 2004, that was edited for clarity.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: It may be good for business and good for humanity, but is it worth the risk to take it on the road? Anand Rangarajan was to have left for Iraq this past Saturday, but delayed due to security concerns. He’ll be traveling with seven other employees from his New Jersey-based company WorldWater.

Sir, thank you for coming.

ANAND RANGARAJAN, WORLDWATER CORP. EXEC. V.P.: Thank you, nice to be with you, Neil.

CAVUTO: So you have seen all these images yet you still plan to go. Why?

RANGARAJAN: Well, we have a very, very solid partner in Iraq. Sandi Group (ph) is the largest security provider in Iraq. And they’ve assured us that our personal safety is not a concern. We were ready to go, we were monitoring the situation hour by hour, up until Saturday when we were told that the conditions were such that we could not have accomplished what we wanted to accomplish under the current circumstances. So we decided to postpone until things got settled down a little bit.

CAVUTO: How do you know, Anand, that the security detail with whom you’ll be traveling presumably in some of the more violent areas is on the up-and-up?

RANGARAJAN: Well, Sandi Group is a well-known group, they are the largest private employer in Iraq today. And in fact they have the largest security force this Iraq today. You know, we have to depend on them to tell us that things are safe and we have checked them out, and they are up and up, we are pretty confident.

CAVUTO: The reason why I mention it, I’m not trying to scare you obviously, you know, eyes wide open, what you are going into. But I worry for you. And when we had those four American contractors who were killed a couple of weeks back, they had a security detail with them and now it is expected or suspected that the group -- the security detail turned on these guys. If that is the case, who do you know who to trust?

RANGARAJAN: Well, you know, you would never know, obviously. You know, this is not the first time that we have been in discussions with Sandi group, we have been in a relationship with them. We signed an agreement with them six months ago, thereabouts. We have been in discussion with them. We know the people that work with Sandi Group. Even though Sandi Group is providing the security for us, they also are partners in general business development there. You know, we have every confidence that they have long-term interests. They are not just interested in providing short-term security for us and making money or anything like that. They have long term business development interests with our company. So, you know, we are pretty confident about our relationship with Sandi Group.

CAVUTO: You know, it is a good point you mention, Anand, for the kidnapping stories we hear, and they are horrific when we hear about them, there are far many more success stories. What is your view of the progress and the contracting work going on as we speak in Iraq?

RANGARAJAN: Clearly, you know, everybody has acknowledged that the progress that they’ve -- that we have been able to make and the progress on the ground is not as fast as one would like to see, which is where our company comes in. We have unique technologies, solar technologies that will enable some fast results. You can leverage a lot of fast results, we don’t necessarily have to go into the worst of places and try and make things happen. But we are able to put in power and water systems in a distributed generation way where we can show a difference. But everybody acknowledged the progress we have made to date has been frustrating and has been too slow.

CAVUTO: Let me ask you a personal question, if you don’t mind, Anand, your family and your wife, particularly, who I know, had some concerns about you going back there. What does she say now?

RANGARAJAN: Well, everyone was happy that, you know, we didn’t go right at the height of things, you know. And she was happy that we decided to postpone the trip for a while to get a better handle on things. As I’ve said before, you know, I’ve traveled to other places which would have been seen to have been dangerous from outside. I have traveled in the Philippines, in the rebel territories, and Somalia and places like that. And we find that a lot of times that the reality on the ground is very, very different than what one sees in the media. This particular trip was to have really concluded certain definitions of contracts and how we were going to proceed and what the implementation was going to be like. So it wasn’t as though I was going to be traveling in the various provinces of Iraq. I would have been in Baghdad, fairly secure, I’m sure.

CAVUTO: Anand, just be safe. All right, Anand Rangarajan, thank you very much, in New Jersey.

RANGARAJAN: Thanks, Neil.

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