Apurva Chandra set to be new joint secretary refineries

Vol 11, PW 21 (06 Mar 08) People & Policy

Anyone following India’s refining sector will be keen to know who replaces Prabh Das as joint secretary when he steps down after five years on March 19.

No one can confirm the name of his successor because it is not yet officially confirmed. But this report hears that the new joint secretary refineries will be Apurva Chandra, who joined the IAS in 1988 from Maharashtra.

Confirms a source: “The folder (with Chandra’s assignment letter) is lying on the desk of (oil secretary) MS Srinivasan.â€‌ Expect the name to be formally announced just when Das is due to move out.

Chandra will hold his new job for five years from the appointment date, assuming he is not transferred before. “Chandra’s name was one of many,â€‌ reports a bureaucrat, “but eventually it was decided that he would succeed Das.

â€‌ Chandra is no stranger to the oil industry. During former oil minister Ram Naik’s time in office, companies wandering in and out of Shastri Bhawan will remember him as Naik’s private secretary for five years from November 17, 1999 to May 22, 2004 after which he returned to Maharashtra.

Chandra was personally chosen by Naik and plucked out from the Ministry of Surface Transport, which he had joined in July 1999, to begin his five-year stint in Delhi. As Naik’s PS, Chandra kept a low profile but was widely perceived as an efficient and able officer.

“This is one reason he served out his full five-year Delhi tenure as Naik’s PS,â€‌ we are told. Since July 3, 2006, Chandra has been in Delhi, as Maharashtra’s Resident Commissioner.

Senior bureaucrats in two other ministries are believed to have wanted Chandra as joint secretary in their ministries, but were told he has been “reservedâ€‌ for the oil ministry.