Skip to main content

Headless GSPC, propagated as Gujarat's bluechip PSU, sending strong feelers: Company is in real mess

Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel
By Our Special Correspondent
Gujarat government's premier public sector undertaking (PSU), Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) – which shot into prominence in 2005 following its loud claims of 20 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas in the offshore oil-and-gas fields it was exploring in the KG Basin, Andhra Pradesh – appears to be losing sheen now within the government. Things have reached to such a point that not only the GSPC does not have a full-time managing-director (MD), it has no chairman worth the name ever since Varesh Sinha retired as Gujarat chief secretary in October-end 2014.
Notably, while the 20 tcf balloon exploded quite some time back, with even GSPC insiders quietly but strongly saying that the company’s KG Basin fields did no more than 2 tcf gas, out of which just one-third was recoverable, more recently, it was forced to withdraw from its costly foreign misadventure in Egypt, where it had taken up five blocks. It still has a few blocks abroad, in Yemen, Australia and Indonesia, but the GSPC has “little interest” in them, and the question currently being posed is: How to overcome GSPC’s huge debts resulting from haphazard claims and expansions?
Energy minister Saurabh Patel
Already, the message gone round, that a headless GSPC without a chairman and full-time MD suggests it is no more a bluechip company, which it was in 2005. Things have deteriorated to such an extent that, usually, the incumbent Gujarat chief secretary is made chairman of PSU in case the political leadership is unable to find one. But this time, D Jagatheesa Pandian, chief secretary, has not been given the chance. Pandian served as its MD for the longest period – nearly nine years ending 2009. An insider said, “Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel, despite her wish, is unable to cleared Pandian’s name.”
Meanwhile, there is a strong buzz that a major reasons for this is, Gujarat energy minister Saurabh Patel, who is known to the most corporate-friendly face of the Cabinet, has begun forwarding the name of Atanu Chakrobortty, state industries secretary, who also holds additional charge of GSPC MD. Emerged as No 2, the minister has considerable say in bureaucratic appointments, and “it was his suggestion which ensured that Pandian was not allowed to become GSPC chairman”, a source said, adding, “The minister is pushing for Chakrabortty as its chairman-cum-managing director (CMD).”
Chief secretary D Jagatheesa Pandian
The minister is said to be of the view that Chakrabortty is the only person who can deliver and take the top PSU out of its mess. Yet, things are stuck, with the chief minister failing to “clear” any name. It is said, even the name of MM Shrivastav – former finance secretary who is now chairman of one of the GSPC subsidiaries looking after installation of oil-and-gas pipelines across India, Gujarat State Petronet Ltd (GSPL) -- was suggested as next GSPC chairman. “However, the minister did not want him either”, the source pointed out.
Saurabh Patel's “choice” of Chakrabortty has attracted considerable curiosity in state babudom, as Chakrobortty and Pandian had never got along well in the past. “If more recently the two did not agree on several issues, involved as both were in organizing the Vibrant Gujarat business summit (January 11-12), one has only to remember how Chakrabortty’s appointment as joint MD was mysteriously scuttled in 2007 when Pandian was MD”, a senior bureaucrat said, requesting anonymity.
“In the last reshuffle, it was almost certain that MK Das, joint MD of GSPC, would be elevated as MD, but Saurabh Patel put his foot down, and ensured instead of Das, Chakrabortty should be given the additional charge as MD”, the bureaucrat said, adding, “Despite the minister’s choice, if Pandian manages to get his appointment done this would suggest that he has more clout than the energy minister. Known for his excellent rapport with politicians in Delhi, Pandian ensured he became chief secretary two months ago, setting side claims of his senior SK Nanda.”

Comments

A Govt official said…
You appear to have hit the true story... I read somewhere, following Gujarat CM's declaration of Rs 25 lakh crore investment, minister Saurabh Patel, in charge of industries, said said he has no breakup; chief secretary says ask the industries minister; and industries secretary says he has no comment
Indian said…
GSPC KG ballon brusted long back....no future unless ongc took some stake in project....orelse it will become soon become in sick PSU's list officially....

TRENDING

Nobel laureates join international figures, seek release of Bhima Koregaon accused activists

Nobel laureates Olga Tokarczuk,  Wole Soyinka Counterview Desk  As many as 57 top international personalities, including Nobel laureates, academics, human rights defenders, lawyers cultural personalities, and members of Parliament of European countries, have urged the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India to ensure immediate release of human rights defenders in India “into safe conditions”.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Top ex-Gujarat babu tells Modi: Not yoga but solar system is our biggest source of energy

By Rajiv Shah  An email alert to Counterview from a top ex-IAS bureaucrat, termed as Gujarat’s turnaround man for revamping loss-making state public sector undertakings (PSUs), has sought to take a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark on the Yoga day – that the ancient Indian exercise provides an “infinite solutions” within ourselves, offering “the biggest source of energy in the universe.”

Hunger, lack of food security behind India's 'slip' in UN's sustainable development rank

By Dr Gian Singh*  According to a report released by the United Nations on June 6, 2021, India's ranking of achieving Sustainable Development based on the 17 Social Development Goals (SDGs) set by the 193 countries in the 2003 agenda, which was 115th last year, has slipped to 117th position this year. India ranks not only the lowest among the BRICS countries -- Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China, and South Africa but also below the four South Asian countries -- Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Collapse of healthcare system? Why 90% of Covid patients treated at home survived

By Bobby Ramakant, Sandeep Pandey* Well known Hindustani classical singer Padma Vibhu shan Channulal Mishra, chosen as one of the proposers of Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha elections, lost his wife and elder daughter to Covid in private hospitals in Varanasi. Younger daughter has accused Medwin Hospital of charging Rs 1.5 lakh for treatement of her sister and not being able to explain the cause of death. Pandit Channulal Mishra has asked for a probe into his daughter’s death from the Chief Minister. The family has also asked for the CCTV footage of the ward where deceased daughter was admitted for a week.

Rooted in mistrust? Covid-19’s march into rural India is a very different ball game

By Sudhir Katiyar* As the Covid-19 virus penetrates rural India, the rural communities are responding very differently from their urban counterparts who rushed to the hospitals. The rural communities are avoiding the public health facilities and any mention of the disease. The note argues that this supposedly irrational response is based on a deep-seated mistrust of the state by the rural communities. It can not be resolved with routine Information, Education and Communication (IEC) measures suggested in the Government of India SOP for tackling Covid-19 in rural areas.

Courageous, in-depth attempt to confirm common spiritual values of Christ, Buddha

By RB Sreekumar, IPS*  All religions, both theistic and atheistic designed conceptual and practical architecture, for holistic and comprehensive elevation and enlightenment of humanity. PK Vijayan, in his novel “Nirvana of Jesus Christ” (Notion Press, 2020) through creative imagination portrayed personality evolution of the two progenitors of God-centric and sagaciously logical major religions – Jesus Christ of Christianity and Gautama Buddha of Buddhism.

Why hasn't Govt of India responded to US critique of freedom of religion under Modi?

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* About two weeks ago, on May 12, 2021, the US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken released in Washington the ‘2020 International Religious Freedom Report.’ This official annual report of the US Government details the status of religious freedom in nearly 200 foreign countries and territories and describes US actions to support religious freedom worldwide. Mandated by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, this report highlights the fact that ‘religious freedom is both a core American value and a universal human right’.

Covid fear? Cremation rituals gone upside down, Dalits asked to do Brahminical rituals

By Abhay Jain, Sandeep Pandey*  As Covid consumes human life in a very conspicuous way we are confronted with additional problem of disposing of human corpses. Cremation grounds are lit with continuous pyres, graveyards are running out of land and now Ganga has become a mass grave potentially polluting its water.