Bombay High row all about lost job opportunities

Vol 5, PW 15 (12 Sep 01) Exploration & Production

Sadly, the DGH-ONGC war is mostly about denial of opportunities.

On one side is Dr Avinash Chandra and Dr K. Narayanan, chairman of the DGH's advisory council.

On the other are ONGC and its chairman Subir Raha. "Bitterness spilled out after Chandra lost to Raha for ONGC chairman," we learn.

Which is why oil ministry mandarins term DGH approval of the Bombay High North redevelopment programme in January 2001 as "a pre-Subir Raha event", while DGH obduracy over the Bombay High South redevelopment programme is "a post-Subir Raha event". What's the history Narayanan worked for long in Africa and was upset that he was not given a "suitable" position at ONGC on his return to India.

He now wants an investigation into the Bombay High redevelopment programme, alleging anexus between ONGC and drilling contractors. There's no love lost between Chandra and ONGC either.

Why Chandra began his career with ONGC in 1962, went overseas for further studies and, on return was not offered his job back. After stints in the oil ministry, Oil India, and the planning commission he helped set up the DGH in 1993 and nursed fond hopes of returning to ONGC.

But he failed when ranked number two on the panel for director exploration. He tried again for ONGC chairman after Bikash Bora but lost to Raha.

"Chandra was lobbying very hard to be ONGC chief," we learn. "Letters came from MPs portraying him as the most capable and most patriotic geologist in India."