Oil India's new RCE in Assam

Vol 26, PW 11 (18 May 23) News in Brief

Oil India has appointed Atindra Roychoudhury, the chairman of its northeast-focused pipeline joint venture Indradhanush Gas Grid (IGGL), as its next Resident Chief Executive (RCE) in Assam.

On May 2 (2023), Oil India announced that Roychoudhury would replace Prasanta Borkakoty, who retires on May 31 (2023). Until then, he'll work alongside Borkakoty as an Officer on Special Duty (OSD) "to ensure a smooth transition" at the Oil India field HQ in Duliajan.

"All basin managers and asset managers in Assam report to the RCE," says a source of the powerful RCE position. "He (the RCE) is like a chairman here in Duliajan."

Significantly, Roychoudhury will continue to hold the rotating position of IGGL chairman, a JV of Oil India, ONGC, GAIL, NRL and IndianOil, implementing the 1656-km northeast gas grid until he retires from Oil India on December 31 (2023). At Oil India, the RCE position is prestigious, with near-total control over the field HQ that oversees two basin and three asset offices.

Not only does the RCE wield influence over all employees in the northeast, with complete administrative control, but he's also the company's critical interface with the office of Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. "At first, there was talk of interviews to replace Borkakoty," reveals a source.

"But better sense prevailed, and Roychoudhury was selected on seniority; in any case, he (Roychoudhury) would have abstained from any interview because, rightly so, he has nothing to prove after all the years he has put in and the respect he draws." However, after Roychoudhury retires on December 31 (2023), most at Oil India expect interviews to select a new RCE to replace him from January 1 (2024).

As for the articulate and affable Borkakoty, he may not be allowed to slip away into peaceful retirement. Impressed by his performance, a source tells us the Assam state government might need his services.

"That could be inviting him into state politics," we hear. "Or by asking him to head some Assam state government company."

By end-May, all Oil India directors will be in Duliajan to attend a series of farewells for Borkakoty.