Three shortlisted for Trai top job

Written by Rishi Raj | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 15 2012, 07:49am hrs
The search-cum-selection committee constituted to look for a new chairman for the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Tuesday shortlisted the names of economic affairs secretary R Gopalan, Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal member PK Rastogi and municipal commissioner of Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC) Subodh Kumar.

This was the committees first meeting.

Kumar was additional secretary in the department of telecommunications when the 3G auctions took place in 2010. Sources said DoT secretary R Chandrasekhar, who is a member of the search committee, expressed his willingness to opt out of the committee. Since Chandrasekhar is due to retire next year, the move is being seen as his willingness to join the race for the Trai top post.

The committee also had preliminary discussions on whether the current chairman, JS Sarma, could be given a six-month extension in the light of the recent Supreme Court order cancelling 122 licences granted in 2008. The reason being that Trai has to come out with recommendations to conduct auctions for granting fresh licences.

For the record, no Trai chairman has been given an extension ever since the regulatory body was created. The meeting also decided to shortly issue advertisements, soliciting the candidature of private sector professionals.

Fe had reported in its Tuesday edition that the government has constituted a search-cum-selection committee headed by cabinet secretary Ajit Seth to look for a new Trai chairman.

The three-year tenure of JS Sarma comes to an end in mid-May. The other members of the committee are Prime Minister's principal secretary Pulok Chatterjee, DoT secretary R Chandrasekhar, DoPT secretary PK Misra and Sam Pitroda, advisor to PM on public infrastructure and information.