Few takers for Coal India top slot

New Delhi, March 29 | Updated: Mar 30 2006, 05:46am hrs
The top job for the countrys largest coal producer Coal India Ltd (CIL) has evoked a poor response from potential candidates. Of the six candidates shortlisted, only three turned up for the interview.

The Public Enterprise Selection Board (PESB) on Wednesday conducted interviews for the post of chairman and managing director for the Rs 32,000 crore coal PSU. Incumbent CMD Shashi Kumars term ends in September.

Highly-placed sources said even among the three interviewed by PESB, none had a technical background, considered a must for the top job at CIL. The company with profits of Rs 4,900 crore is in the midst of an ambitious expansion programme to meet the countrys rising coal demand.

It is understood that CMD of Bharat Coking Coal Partho Bhattacharya, director finance of Nevyeli Lignite Prasanna Kumar and commercial director of Kudremukh Iron Ore Company NS Sreeman were interviewed by PESB on Wednesday. Other three candidates, including one from GAIL, gave the interview a miss.

The problem CIL faces now is more technical in nature like, increasing production from underground mines, under-utilisation of heavy earth moving equipment, long wall mining etc. At this juncture, someone with wide technical knowledge will be preferred, a source said.

The source said though Mr Bhattacharya of BCCL was the frontrunner for the post, his finance background may pose a hurdle. Mr Kumar of NLC too has a finance background while Mr Sreeman is more a marketing person.