Mansingh in pre-retirement self-destruct mode

Vol 15, PW 6 (22 Sep 11) People & Policy

Labanyendu Mansingh has only a few weeks left before he retires as Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) chairman.

But he’s making those weeks as hellish as possible for colleagues. PETROWATCH learns bitter in fighting continues at the PNGRB where Mansingh and the organisation’s two functional members Sudha Mahalingam and YPC Dangay are clashing on almost everything.

PNGRB (member distribution) Mahalingam and (member legal) Dangay took the unusual step of complaining to the Supreme Court of India this July about Mansingh’s autocratic behaviour. A PNGRB source says internal conflict at the organisation is so bad it’s preventing any work being done at all.

Mansingh’s latest ruse is to send back all crucial files with the remark: “May be submitted to the regular/new member infrastructure.” But PNGRB member infrastructure BS Negi, set to retire on October 27, has been barred since May by the Supreme Court from taking part in decision-making because of a conflict of interest case hanging over him.

Negi’s successor KK Jha takes charge on January 1, 2012 after he retires as IndianOil director pipelines. Among several items pending is technical evaluation of bids received in February from the country’s third retail gas licensing round.

Fifty-one bids were received for Asansol-Durgapur in West Bengal; Bhavnagar, Kutch East, Kutch West and Jamnagar in Gujarat; and Jalandhar and Ludhiana in Punjab. Companies who bid include Siti Energy; Lanco Infratech; Indraprastha Gas; Jay Madhok Energy; a consortium of IndianOil and Adani Gas; GAIL Gas; Hindustan Construction Company; Ambience; LMJ Energy Infralogistics; Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum.

Technical bids should have been opened and evaluated by now but Mansingh is refusing to allow any progress until Jha joins the board.