Alok Tandon succeeds Tarun Kapoor as Oil Sec.

Vol 25, PW 1 (02 Dec 21) People & Policy

Oil secretary Tarun Kapoor's hopes of an extension have come crashing down.

Nail-biting suspense marked Kapoor's last day on November 30 (2021) after minister Hardeep Puri sent his file to the DoPT seeking a two-year extension from December 1 (2021). But at around 8pm on November 30 (2021), Kapoor's hopes were dashed when the DoPT announced that mines ministry secretary Alok Tandon would take temporary additional charge of the oil secretary role.

"The competent authority has approved the assignment of the additional charge of the post of secretary, ministry of petroleum and natural gas to Alok Tandon, secretary, ministry of mines with immediate effect until the appointment of a regular incumbent or until further orders, whichever is earlier," reads the order. On the same day, government undersecretary MR Nazmi issued a notification that "on attaining the age of superannuation (retirement), Shri Tarun Kapoor, secretary in the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, has retired from government service on November 30 2021."

Disappointed Kapoor joined the oil ministry as oil secretary on May 1 (2020). His (temporary) successor Tandon joined the IAS from Uttar Pradesh in 1986 and became mines secretary on January 23 (2021).

In industry circles, Tandon enjoys a reputation as a "power expert" who turned around loss-making UP Power Generation Company. On his LinkedIn profile Tandon says in 2008 he wiped out accumulated losses of Rs2000cr ($266.66m) from UP Power, and from a loss of Rs450cr ($60m) brought the company to an Rs41cr ($5.4m) profit and further raised this to Rs128cr ($17m).

Tandon was chairman and managing director of UP Power from September (2007) to September (2011), managing five thermal power stations totalling 4000-MW and ten hydroelectric stations totalling 525-MW with 10,000 employees. His LinkedIn profile lists several other public policy and power generation portfolios as his specialities.

Tandon was also chairman of the Noida development authority under the Uttar Pradesh government's infrastructure and industrial development department from September (2017) to January (2021). Alongside this position, Tandon was also commissioner of infrastructure and industrial development in the Uttar Pradesh government over the same period.