Apurva Chandra recommends Jha for PNGRB

Vol 14, PW 18 (10 Mar 11) People & Policy

Most people hate the tax man knocking at their door but members of the Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board could soon be welcoming a tax man into their midst.

PETROWATCH learns oil ministry joint secretary Apurva Chandra has recommended the appointment of Prakash Chandra Jha as the new member (commercial) at the Board, a post vacant since LK Singhvi completed his term last November. Jha is an Indian Revenue Service officer who was formerly the chairman of India’s Central Board of Excise and Customs.

He was ranked second for the member (commercial) job after interviews held on November 11 last year while IndianOil’s former acting chairman and director business development BM Bansal was ranked first. Bansal was set to become Board member (commercial) on February 1 this year, after retiring from IOC on January 31, but he abruptly turned down the job.

Chandra forwarded Jha’s file onwards to his bosses in Shastri Bhawan earlier this month (March). “Jha’s file is still sitting on the oil secretary’s desk,” confirmed a senior oil ministry source on March 8.

“He hasn’t yet reverted.” Still unclear is when oil secretary S.

Sundareshan and oil minister Jaipal Reddy will decide on Jha’s appointment. But if they reject him, we hear, fresh member (commercial) interviews could be held.

Separately, the ministry also plans to begin searching for replacements for Board chairman Labanyendu Mansingh and Board member (infrastructure) BS Negi, who both step down this October. Former GAIL director finance RK Goel is expected to apply for the member (infrastructure) post as he earlier unsuccessfully applied for the member (commercial) role.

But it’s too early to pick frontrunners for the top job of Board chairman. “One thing is certain,” we are told.

“The Board chairman will always be from the IAS (Indian Administrative Service).”