What the stars say about A. Karnatak of GAIL

Vol 17, PW 2 (22 Aug 13) People & Policy

Astrology enthusiast Ashutosh Karnatak will need more than a crystal ball to improve GAIL's fortunes when he becomes director projects.

Karnatak was selected on August 16 to replace RD Goyal who retires on February 28 next year. When the CVC grants anti-corruption clearance Karnatak will receive his appointment letter by November.

His selection comes at a time when GAIL is worrying about the utilisation of its pipelines as the weakening rupee and escalating R-LNG prices scare off gas customers. Karnatak is also under pressure to complete delayed work on GAIL's stalled 879-km pipeline from the Kochi LNG terminal to Mangalore and Bangalore.

Work should have been completed by December 2012 but has yet to begin because of farmer and landowner opposition. GAIL sources say Karnatak's priority will be dealing with angry farmers.

Luckily Karnatak, 53, has huge experience managing cross-country pipelines, among them the 1389-km gas pipeline from the Dabhol LNG terminal to Bangalore. He is also credited with the successful commissioning of a LPG processing plant at Gandhar in Gujarat.

"People are happy about Karnatak’s appointment,” says a source. “He comes up with solutions and doesn’t believe in the ‘blame game’.

If there is room to improve Karnatak will back it." Karnatak, currently GAIL executive director projects, must also oversee the capacity doubling of GAIL's Pata petrochemicals factory in Uttar Pradesh to 800,000 t/y by next year.