Maharashtra has a new energy secretary

Vol 4, PW 19 (25 Oct 00) People & Policy

Maharashtra has appointed a new energy secretary on October 16th, after an almost two-month gap caused by the transfer of the former energy secretary Dr Pramod Deo on August 22nd.

The new secretary, UK Mukhopadhyay, was energy secretary in the state when former chief minister Sharad Pawar negotiated the Enron deal. Immediately after the deal was signed he went on a posting to the World Bank where he stayed for six years and then returned to the state.

He was shuffled around in a few inconsequential posts before being appointed to head his old department once again. His appointment here was delayed for quite some time due to political opposition.

Mukhopadhyay is related to the wife of Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee. It is understood that Mukherjee intervened in a letter to chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh recommending that Mukhopadhyay be given the job.

Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (part of the Maharashtra coalition government) got to know of this and strongly opposed the move even though Mukhopadhyay and Pawar worked together on the Enron deal. Finally, after much negotiation and delay Mukhopadhyay got the job, largely due to the insistence of chief secretary Arun Bongirwar who also favoured him.

Mukhopadhyay is 58 years old and has two more years before retirement.