Government’s PSU headhunter Public Enterprise Selection Board (PESB) has selected BHEL’s Director Finance C.S. Verma for the top job at steel maker SAIL, but officials in the Steel Ministry want the recommendation scrapped in favour of a bureaucrat.
The PESB on February 26 named Mr. Verma as its number one choice to replace S.K. Roongta when he retires as SAIL chairman in May, officials said.
It named building construction firm NBCC chairman and managing director Arup Roy Choudhury as its second choice.
But a section of officials in the Steel Ministry want the panel suggested by PESB scrapped and the job to go to an Additional Secretary in another ministry.
A panel suggested by PESB can only be scrapped with the concurrence of Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh, who officials say is not in favour of bringing a bureaucrat at India’s largest steel producer.
“The PESB after interviewing a host of candidates recommended the two names. Currently their candidature has been sent for vigilance scrutiny after which it will be placed before the steel minister for his assent,” the official said.
A section of officials in the ministry want the Minister to disapprove both the names and set up a search committee headed by a Cabinet Secretary to pick a suitable candidate for SAIL top job. If the names of both the candidates are rejected by the Minister, according to the norms, the senior most director of the Steel Ministry assumes the role of acting Chairman.
“The minister has to give very strong reasons if he rejects Mr. Verma’s candidature, which is an unlikely scenario as he is expected to go with the recommendation of the PESB screening committee,” the official added.
SAIL is on a Rs 70,000-crore expansion plan to increase annual steel production capacity to over 23 million tonnes from the present around 14 million tonnes.
SAIL’s capacity augmentation is the key to the country’s overall target of doubling the annual steel production capacity by 2012 from the current 65 million tonnes mark.