ASTO tells Puri ONGC misled him

Vol 27, PW 3 (08 Feb 24) News in Brief

ONGC's officer association ASTO has accused management of misrepresenting its stance on the company's new promotions policy to oil minister Hardeep Puri.

On February 5 (2024), Puri said in a written reply to parliament that ONGC's board introduced the new promotions policy for better leadership planning in agreement with the Association of Scientific and Technical Officers (ASTO). Puri was replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha upper house from Congress legislator Shaktisinh Gohil.

"Association of Scientific and Technical Officers (ASTO) has submitted a memorandum dated December 31 (2023)," said Puri in his written reply. "The association has mentioned that it is in unison with the management's vision for merit-based promotions for ensuring leadership planning," On February 6 (2024), ASTO submitted a critical note to Puri during his visit to India Energy Week 2024 in Goa.

"We are in dismay and taken aback to receive the response available in a public forum," writes ASTO. "Your good office has been misguided in writing the response against the referred question; we are deeply concerned about the implications of this misrepresentation, particularly considering the high-profile nature of a parliamentary setting."

ASTO asks Puri to take immediate action "considering the seriousness of this matter" against the ONGC officials responsible. ASTO stresses that it has been demanding a joint committee on the recruitment and promotions policy in letters to ONGC management dated September 26 (2023), October 9 (2023), November 2 (2023), November 15 (2023), and December 31 (2023).

"But ONGC management never replied." writes ASTO.

"The revised recruitment and promotions policy has been implemented unilaterally without consulting ASTO." Another association, the ONGC Officers Association (OOA), planned a black-flag protest on February 9 (2024) against management's decision to impose the new policy.

However, OOA general secretary George Ravi Shekeran tells us the protest has been postponed until after the labour commissioner meets management on February 15 (2024).