Monday, February 06, 2012

Why This Coalaveri Di? IAS officers bid for clinching Coal India chairman’s post

Nandita Chatterjee in China (File Photo)
NEVER before the chairman’s post of a government-run company has wooed so many prominent IAS. And hence: Why This Coalaveri Di? Here are five IAS officers who have made serious bids to clinch the coveted post of chairman, Coal India. The final interview will take place on February 14. Currently, coal ministry’s additional secretary and 1979 batch IAS Zohra Chatterji is the acting CMD of Coal India. Remember, Coal India is not just a cash-rich PSU. It commands respects in government, corporate corridors and also in Dalal Street. Only on August last year, the company, which is the world’s largest coal-miner, hogged the limelight when its market capitalization surpassed that of Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries, and became India’s most valuable company. Also, the chairman’s revised pay scale at Rs 80,000 to 1,25,000 per month is an attractive proposition as it is higher than the salary of a secretary-ranked officer. But for most IAS officers applying for the post, other factors including early retirement and current side-tracked postings could be some of other considerations why they wish to venture into this world of coal mining. Here are the IAS applicants for this hot job.

Nandita Chatterjee
Additional secretary, Environment Ministry
For this 1980 batch West Bengal cadre IAS officer, it’s a perfect fit to work five more years for this Kolkata-headquartered PSU giant. As she will be 60 only in July 2017, Ms Chatterjee, if selected, will get a full five-year term. She is a post graduate in economics and also a PhD in anthropology. She is an alumni of Presidency College, Kolkata, University of Manchester, UK and World Bank Institute, Washington DC. Her work experiences in environment ministries both at the state and the Centre could be an added advantage, as Coal India’s biggest challenge now is to fiercely follow its growth path while remaining highly environment-friendly.

RS Kahlon
Environment Secretary, West Bengal
For this 1984 batch IAS, it’s an opportunity to head a leading government company from Kolkata. Kahlon who has never been on a Central deputation in the past and who is retiring in 2018, it’s the right bet. He is an MA in English literature and has no economics background.

Sudhir Kumar

Sudhir Kumar
Former OSD to Lalu Prasad
The high point of this 1982 batch Bihar cadre IAS was the much talked about turnaround saga of Indian Railways. Sudhir Kumar was the backroom boy of making Railways a profitable venture when students from IIM and Wharton queued up outside Rail Bhawan to do case studies on Lalu Prasad-anchored success story. Kumar was in fact more powerful than any Railway Board chairmen between 2004 and 2009. But his career graph fell sharply after Lalu’s RJD did a poor show in 2009 general elections, and Lalu was replaced by Mamata Banerjee as railway minister. Kumar joined power ministry as a joint secretary before going back to Nitish Kumar’s Bihar. Those who had worked with Sudhir Kumar say he understands business nuances more than even the business honchos do, and he will be a perfect CEO. Also, he is retiring in 2016, thereby making his Coal India bid a right case.

Sreemat Pandey
Principal Secretary to Rajasthan CM
This 1984 batch Rajasthan cadre IAS had served in the state electricity department several years before joining as secretary to CM. Sreemat Pandey was an electrical engineer, and then took civil services exam to become an IAS.

Narsingh Rao
A former UN hand
For the last five and half years, Narsingh Rao, a 1986 batch Andhra Pradesh cadre IAS, has been working as Chairman and MD of Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL). Maybe, it’s the time he joins a bigger PSU which has a national reputation. Rao worked as portfolio manager in an UN agency called UN Office for Project Services for six years between 1999 and 2005.