Struggle to replace Atanu Chakraborty at GSPC

Vol 19, PW 13 (10 Mar 16) People & Policy

Gujarat energy minister Saurabh Patel is scrambling to select a replacement for GSPC managing director Atanu Chakraborty who is likely to be relieved of his charge in April to join the DGH.

Chakraborty's abrupt appointment as DGH chief on February 24 has put Patel in a spot. In Gujarat there is a dearth of experienced IAS officers, several of the best went to Delhi with Narendra Modi in 2014.

Yet some names are circulating, among them Orissa-born BB Swain, 52, who joined the IAS in 1988 from Gujarat. Swain, who was appointed principal secretary in the rural development department in June 2015, was also once MD of Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC).

His only drawback is his independent mind: Modi's government likes to appoint 'yes' men. Another strong contender is S.

Aparna, 52, secretary to Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel. Aparna is from Tamil Nadu and joined the IAS in 1988.

She has a reputation as a competent officer and has worked in the finance department. Notably she was Surat municipal commissioner from 2007 to 2011 when she kicked off major infrastructure projects and demolished illegal buildings.

Also in the race is Manoj Kumar Das, 49, who was GSPC's first joint managing director from June 2014 to April 2015. "But I don't think Das has a chance," speculates a Gandhinagar source.

"If Patel was happy with him he wouldn't have been dismissed after 10 months."