Jain gets exploration and Narasimha Raju shifts to gas

Vol 10, PW 16 (30 Nov 06) People & Policy

Explorers hoping to build bridges with the newly appointed joint secretary exploration DN Narasimha Raju will have to start again.

Last week Raju was moved out of exploration to head the gas and marketing division, earlier headed by Ajay Tyagi, whose stint in Delhi ended on 12th November. Rajus surprise transfer to gas is part of a major re-shuffle in the oil ministry and comes just a month after he was appointed joint secretary exploration.

Director exploration Anil Kumar Jain was widely expected to replace Tyagi on promotion to joint secretary but instead has moved up a rung in the same department to fill the void left by Raju as joint secretary exploration. Observers are surprised at this job-swap between Jain and Raju.

There is no logic in this re-allocation of work, says a source. It is unfair to move Raju out after only a month.

He has had no chance to prove himself. Others believe differently.

Jain, they say, has already spent three and a half years as director exploration, making him eminently qualified to become joint secretary exploration, particularly now as India readies to sign 50 or more PSCs under NELP-VI. Raju had just started learning about exploration, reveals a source.

It doesnt make much difference if he starts all over again learning about gas. As for Tyagi, in a past issue of PETROWATCH we reported how he is under pressure from Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh to return to the state capital Shimla on completing his five years in Delhi.

But it now appears Tyagi is staying in Delhi to head the nascent Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board. How did he manage this reverse of fortune It was difficult, says a source.

But a prominent Himachal politician intervened with the chief minister on his behalf. Tyagi has yet to get the appointment letter (as secretary to the regulator) but that is a formality.

The important thing is he stays in Delhi.