Work grinds to halt in ministry E&P division

Vol 20, PW 10 (09 Feb 17) News in Brief
     

Democracy has its price, and for E&P operators in India that means work in the oil ministry's exploration division has come to a standstill.

Obsessed by local elections in five states, Dharmendra Pradhan hardly shows his face. But of most concern is the absence of Diwaker Nath Misra, the only director in the exploration department.

Misra was sent to Punjab (voting held February 4) on 'election duty' and hasn't been seen for 15 days. "Unless Misra signs off on the file," we hear, "It can't go up to the (joint secretary) Amar Nath.

There's a protocol." Already short-staffed, the oil ministry exploration division lost directors Nalin Srivastava who moved to Sudan for a UN assignment in December (2016) and Prashant Lokhande who left for Beijing in August 2016. In India, 'election duty' is a strange euphemism to describe a period when legions of government and state-owned company employees are ordered to abandon their day-jobs and despatched by decree to monitor polling booths, register voters and generally ensure smooth elections in far-flung areas of India.

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