Peeved at inordinate delay in the selection of a permanent chairman and managing director for state-run miner NMDC, steel minister Birender Singh has requested the appointments committee of the Cabinet to speed up the process or depute a senior IAS officer to run the firm on a full-time basis in the interim. “I don’t want things to be prolonged to such an extent where it becomes detrimental to the interest of the PSU. I made a request to the appointing authority, asking them to take a decision in such cases speedily, and if there is no proper selection, at least I should be provided with someone of the rank of additional secretary to run PSUs like NMDC,” Singh told FE in an interview. “For the time being, if things take time, let’s have a senior administrative officer, but not on additional charge,” he added. The CMD’s position at the iron ore miner has been lying vacant for around 18 months now since the retirement of incumbent Narendra Kothari in December 15, on attaining the age of superannuation. The Public Enterprises Selection Board had recommended the name of the company’s technical director NK Nanda for the top post in September 2016.
The steel ministry’s additional secretary and financial adviser Bharathi S Sihag has been holding the additional charge as the company’s CMD since January 2016. The charge was given to R Sridharan, then additional secretary in the ministry of mines, since December 2016. Sridharan is now member finance in the space commission.
During 2016-17, NMDC reported a Rs 8,830 crore turnover and a Rs 2,589 crore net profit. It sold 35.62 mt iron ore. The government holds 74.94% stake in the firm. Company sources said decision-taking has become a difficulty with the absence of a regular CMD. NMDC is setting up a steel plant at Nagarnar with an investment of over `15,000 crore. The plant is likely to be commissioned by the end of the current year.