MPs praise "excellent work" of DGH boss Chandra

Vol 6, PW 2 (27 Mar 02) Exploration & Production

JOURNALISTS COVERING THE 'oil sector' have long been aware of simmering tensions between the oil ministry and DGH boss Dr Avinash Chandra.

Call it a personality clash or a difference in working style but there's no love lost between Chandra and oil ministry bureaucrats. For those who care to listen, numerous stories are circulating about various episodes of their long-standing feud.

But the latest round has gone resoundingly in Chandra's favour, leaving the ministry red in the face with helpless anger. It centres on the 21st report of the (parliamentary) Standing Committee on Petroleum and Chemicals and a section on production of oil and gas.

The 150-page report was submitted last December and at first glance appears harmless and boring. Yet a thorough read reveals some gems.

Throughout the report MPs heap lavish praise on the DGH and its "excellent work". By contrast the oil ministry, ONGC and Oil India come across as being incompetent and foolish.

Strong words and phrases are used to censure Shastri Bhawan and state-owned oil explorers. As expected the oil ministry is seething with anger and suspects Chandra's influence behind the harsh words.

Gossip has it that the ministry is planning to "set the record straight" in the mandatory 'Action Taken Report' prepared by a ministry when such reports are published. Will the new oil secretary be as keen on revenge as his outgoing predecessor Watch this space!