Wait for CMD may get longer at NHPC

Written by Subhash Narayan | New Delhi | Updated: Sep 28 2013, 09:10am hrs
Hydropower generator NHPCs wait for a full-time chairman and managing director is getting longer with the government set to ask the Public Enterprise Selection Board (PESB) to start the selection process all over again rather than extending the period of validity of the names it proposed to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet earlier.

This would mean that NHPC could remain headless for another six months as PESB procedures require it to advertise the vacancy all over again, conduct interviews and finalise a panel of suitable candidates before shortlisting two.

The CMD post fell vacant in January 2011. Since then, the company has been run with officials and bureaucrats holding additional charge, resulting in delays in decision-making. In fact, almost the entire 4,000-MW of projects under implementation by NHPC are facing

delays.

Power ministry officials said that though the name of NHPC director (projects) JK Sharma is with ACC for approval as the new CMD, delays in getting vigilance clearance is preventing a decision. The expectation is that the process may be restarted though the current panels extension is also not ruled out, an official said.

The validity of the current PESB panel ends on September 29. Sharma emerged as the second-choice candidate after NHPC director (finance) ABL Srivastava was denied vigilance clearance. Srivastava had held additional charge as CMD NHPC for almost a year.

It is unfortunate that no clarity has emerged on the name of the candidate furnished by PESB even though his name was opened in October 2012 with the approval of ACC. If the panel is now scrapped, it could create ground for further litigation, said an NHPC official, declining to be named.

The delay has generated discontent among top-level executives of the miniratna company. Sources said a few officials are not happy with G Sai Prasad, joint secretary in the ministry of power, taking up the additional role of NHPC CMD though rules provide that CMD of a category A company would be of the rank of an addl secretary.