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OIL works go slow without CMD

By Ron Duarah

DIBRUGARH, May 3 - Day-to-day functioning of �Navaratna Company� Oil India Limited (OIL) has been thoroughly hit with the Centre yet to find a full time chief for the company. The 50-year-old OIL has never before been without a full time chairman and managing director (CMD) for such a prolonged period. OIL does not have a full time CMD since July 1 last year.

In this period, OIL�s oil and gas production figures have crashed, almost 15%, according to one estimate. Workers� morale not worth writing about, and the overall vibrancy seen in the company�s campuses are on the wane. But officially, nobody is complaining, fearing penalties. The global oil recession has not helped, either.

Between November 2014 and April 2016, four interviews were held to select a CMD for OIL. Three of these were hosted by the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB). The first was held on November 21, 2014, where the PESB could not recommend the mandatory three-name panel for subsequent appointment.

PESB then held the second interview on February 10, 2015, and recommended the name of Rupshikha Saikia Borah, OIL�s director (finance) � she continues in this post � as the first option in the three-name panel. Due to apparently political reasons, the Prime Minister�s Office refused to clear her name. The PESB later held the third interview on September 9 last year. Ten of the 12 shortlisted candidates appeared (including Borah), but PESB commented it wanted to �interview more people.�

As the vacancy carried on, the Centre in the meanwhile appointed an additional secretary in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG), UP Singh as temporary CMD of the company. This person, an Orissa cadre IAS, is already saddled with responsibilities of the ministry. The result is that OIL-related decisions are taking longer to be put on pen and paper. The effect is that those having work with OIL are angry and frustrated that decisions are seldom ever being taken, and that too at a painfully slow pace.

With the PESB being unable to find a person to take over as OIL CMD, the Centre � basically the Prime Minister�s Office � in December last year constituted a three member �search committee� to find a suitable person to be the new OIL chief. For the uninitiated, �search committees� are normally constituted to nominate/select venerated posts like university Vice Chancellors. This MoPNG search committee has the ministry�s secretary, KD Tripathy, PMO principal secretary, Nripendra Mishra and oil industry veteran, Bikash Chandra Borah, who earlier served as CMD of both OIL and ONGC.

After receiving curriculum vitae from about 60 aspirants, the committee shortlisted the names of 15, who were called for an interview on April 25 this year. Of the 15, at least two � one of them an IAS officer � did not appear. While no further information of the �search committee� interview is available in the public domain, it is reliably gathered that the April 25 interview yielded no result.

Meanwhile, there is a consistent public demand here in Assam that persons with substantial knowledge of the Northeast be appointed to posts like CMD of OIL, managing director of BCPL, CMD of BVFCL, etc.

AASU, AJYCP and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Parishad have gone a step further, demanding that �suitable Assamese persons be appointed to these and similar posts.� The Centre has been resisting these demands, till now.

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OIL works go slow without CMD

DIBRUGARH, May 3 - Day-to-day functioning of �Navaratna Company� Oil India Limited (OIL) has been thoroughly hit with the Centre yet to find a full time chief for the company. The 50-year-old OIL has never before been without a full time chairman and managing director (CMD) for such a prolonged period. OIL does not have a full time CMD since July 1 last year.

In this period, OIL�s oil and gas production figures have crashed, almost 15%, according to one estimate. Workers� morale not worth writing about, and the overall vibrancy seen in the company�s campuses are on the wane. But officially, nobody is complaining, fearing penalties. The global oil recession has not helped, either.

Between November 2014 and April 2016, four interviews were held to select a CMD for OIL. Three of these were hosted by the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB). The first was held on November 21, 2014, where the PESB could not recommend the mandatory three-name panel for subsequent appointment.

PESB then held the second interview on February 10, 2015, and recommended the name of Rupshikha Saikia Borah, OIL�s director (finance) � she continues in this post � as the first option in the three-name panel. Due to apparently political reasons, the Prime Minister�s Office refused to clear her name. The PESB later held the third interview on September 9 last year. Ten of the 12 shortlisted candidates appeared (including Borah), but PESB commented it wanted to �interview more people.�

As the vacancy carried on, the Centre in the meanwhile appointed an additional secretary in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG), UP Singh as temporary CMD of the company. This person, an Orissa cadre IAS, is already saddled with responsibilities of the ministry. The result is that OIL-related decisions are taking longer to be put on pen and paper. The effect is that those having work with OIL are angry and frustrated that decisions are seldom ever being taken, and that too at a painfully slow pace.

With the PESB being unable to find a person to take over as OIL CMD, the Centre � basically the Prime Minister�s Office � in December last year constituted a three member �search committee� to find a suitable person to be the new OIL chief. For the uninitiated, �search committees� are normally constituted to nominate/select venerated posts like university Vice Chancellors. This MoPNG search committee has the ministry�s secretary, KD Tripathy, PMO principal secretary, Nripendra Mishra and oil industry veteran, Bikash Chandra Borah, who earlier served as CMD of both OIL and ONGC.

After receiving curriculum vitae from about 60 aspirants, the committee shortlisted the names of 15, who were called for an interview on April 25 this year. Of the 15, at least two � one of them an IAS officer � did not appear. While no further information of the �search committee� interview is available in the public domain, it is reliably gathered that the April 25 interview yielded no result.

Meanwhile, there is a consistent public demand here in Assam that persons with substantial knowledge of the Northeast be appointed to posts like CMD of OIL, managing director of BCPL, CMD of BVFCL, etc.

AASU, AJYCP and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Parishad have gone a step further, demanding that �suitable Assamese persons be appointed to these and similar posts.� The Centre has been resisting these demands, till now.