Thursday, June 18, 2009
FORMER tourism joint secretary and 1980 batch Kerala cadre IAS Amitabh Kant is now the front-runner for heading Delhi Mumbai industrial corridor development corporation (DMICDC) which is the nodal body to execute USD 90 billion India-Japan friendship project, sources close to the development told babu blogger. Mr Kant, who is best known for his six-year-old (2001-2007) stint as joint secretary of tourism ministry, is credited with championing the ‘Incredible India’ campaign (See photograph above). Last month, Tata group chairman Ratan Tata released a book – “Branding India-An Incredible Journey”-- authored by Mr Kant who is now principal secretary and special commissioner (industries) of Government of Kerala. Significantly, the government short-listed a number of infrastructure honchos for the post of chief executive of DMICDC last year, and interviews were conducted in September 2008. But Mr Kant was nowhere in the picture when a search committee including cabinet secretary K M Chandrasekhar, DIPP secretary Ajay Shankar and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) MD E Sreedharan, screened a few possible names for the post. The main contenders then included senior director of ICICI Venture and former IAS Shailesh Pathak, L&T infrastructure finance’s CEO Suneet Maheshwari, Gammon India’s MD Parvez Umrigar, I D International’s Hong Kong-based director Alok Jain, Ascendas Property Management Services India’s head, IT-SEZ, Rajeev Chadha, former IAS and currently CEO of Tata Realty and Infrastructure Sanjay G Ubale, KEC International’s CEO Ramesh Chandak and Petronet MHB’s MD S B Pandey. But a number of them including Mr Pathak and Mr Ubale were not so keen in taking up the job then. In fact, former industry secretary Ajay Dua was instrumental in shaping the concept of DMICDC, and it was widely believed that Mr Dua would be appointed as its chief executive post retirement. But the government decided to put an age-cap making it impossible for any retired person to contest for the post. It now remains to be seen whether Mr Kant, an officer from Kerala, clicks in power corridors of Delhi when Kerala is the ultimate flavour of the season in Raisina Hill!