Ponnuswamy in the clouds

Vol 4, PW 10 (21 Jun 00) News in Brief

What is the point of Etienne Ponnuswamy, one of two Ministers of State for Petroleum After eight months in office, he still appears to have little understanding of the oil and gas sector.

Ponnuswamy was recently in Baroda, sitting blankly through a presentation on Western Onshore and Offshore regions. At the end of the presentation, he remarked glibly that ONGC, "should try to meet the targets by the year 2005".

Startled officials could not understand what "targets" the minister was referring to, nor the significance of the year 2005! One said: "All that Ponnuswamy understands about the oil business is that any increase in prices of petrol, diesel or LPG will annoy the voters."