In control Pradhan shows PSUs he is the boss

Vol 19, PW 18 (19 May 16) People & Policy

Dharmendra Pradhan wants everybody to remember that state-owned oil companies are under his tight control.

How else to explain his unprecedented decision to attend an ONGC and Oil India vendors meeting on May 16 at the Ashok Hotel in Delhi, where he told assembled industry representatives not to "fear" ONGC and Oil India bosses present but to share their grievances with him? "Thirty-four people stood up to respond!" says a source present. "In total 50 suggestions were received." Pradhan also told contractors and vendors to approach him directly if they face trouble with any of the state-owned oil companies.

"Contractors openly spoke about payment delays," we hear. "They also complained about unwanted and unexpected modifications to the indemnity clauses in contracts as well as liability and penalty clauses." When vessel owners complained against ONGC's decision to cancel contracts for 27 vessels, Pradhan on the spot formed a working committee headed by additional secretary AP Sawhney with additional secretaries UP Singh, Anant Kumar Singh and joint secretary (refineries) Sandeep Poundrik as members, telling them to submit a report to oil secretary KD Tripathi, also present.

However Pradhan was careful not to side with either contractors or state-owned companies. Around 350 to 400 crammed into the 300-capacity hall leaving many to crowd the entrance.

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