Sibal implements welcome changes to life at DGH

Vol 9, PW 4 (01 Jun 05) Exploration & Production

It wasnt always so on the 4th floor of the Hindustan Times building on Kasturba Gandhi Marg.

In the old days visitors to the DGH office in Delhi waited endlessly for an audience with the director general. Not any more.

Todays DGH is a model of seamless efficiency that should reassure any anxious foreign company that submitted a NELP-V bid on 31st May. This isnt an advert for the DGH, more a first hand account from employees about radical changes to their work and lifestyle since VK Sibal replaced Avinash Chandra last November.

The difference between Chandra and Sibal, reveals one insider who worked with both, Is that Chandra was a great scientist but Sibal is a great manager. Delegation of work and efficient time management are the hallmarks of Sibals popular reign.

Soon after his appointment, he asked colleagues to suggest someone efficient to help him with the mass of paperwork he would otherwise deal with himself. One was appointed, with startling results.

No longer must staff burn the midnight oil waiting for him to finish work. Sibal, it seems, likes to keep civilised hours, beginning work at 9.30am and ending at 5.30pm or 6pm.

He doesnt like to see files lying around, adds another insider. He wants them disposed of fast.

Sibal is also punctual and unless hes unexpectedly called to the ministry will keep his appointment. Another significant change is that Sibal has banished agents and middlemen from the DGH.

Finally, his unquestionable integrity has endeared him to staff. One common incident recounted is when Sibal was posted to Assam in his earlier incarnation with Oil India.

Police turned up to arrest one of his staff on trumped up anti-terrorism charges. Sibal, it seems, accompanied the police and his arrested junior to the police station and stayed up all night on the phone using his influence to get the officer released, which eventually he was.

Incidents like this have gone far in enhancing Sibals reputation among subordinates at the DGH.