Gujarat Petronet gets its first full-time chairman

Vol 16, PW 4 (06 Sep 12) People & Policy
     

Most civil servants want nothing more at 60 than to retire and relax at the golf course.

Not Manmohan Srivastava. His biggest challenge lies ahead at BSE-listed Gujarat State Petronet, the BSE-listed pipeline subsidiary of GSPC.

Srivastava took charge as the company’s first full-time chairman on August 24 after spending the last 11 years shuttling around government departments in Delhi. By his own admission, he has his work cut out to ensure three major cross-country gas pipelines are implemented on time, despite staunch opposition from GAIL.

These are: a 1746-km pipeline from Mallavaram in Andhra Pradesh to Bhilwara in Rajasthan, passing through Bhopal and Vijaipur in Madhya Pradesh; a 1665-km pipeline from Mehsana in Gujarat to Bhatinda in Punjab; and a 750-km pipeline from Bhatinda to Srinagar in Jammu & Kashmir. GAIL unsuccessfully challenged the PNGRB award of these projects to a GSPL-led (52%) consortium of Indian Oil (26%), HPCL (11%) and BPCL (11%).

But in February India’s Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL) ruled in GSPL’s favour. “Srivastava will rely on his ‘rich contacts’ in Delhi to ensure a smooth ride,” says a GSPL source.

“GSPL will gain from his experience in dealing with adversaries (GAIL) and managing crises.” Srivastava was pulled back into service just 23 days into his retirement, as the best person to tackle GAIL.

Since taking charge, he has been hearing presentations from every company department, working tirelessly from early morning to late evening. Crucially, he has an excellent working relationship with GSPC managing director Tapan Ray; he was formerly Ray’s boss in the state’s finance department.

“I wandered into the civil service,” Srivastava tells us. “My original aim was to become a scientist.