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Power sector in a limbo: Top posts in Coal India lying vacant

04 Jul 2018

At a time when the power sector is grappling with a severe coal shortage, it has come to light that the recruitment policy for top jobs in Coal India (CIL) and its group companies is in limbo. While at least six top-level post holders at the state-run miner are on the brink of an exit, nine others are lying vacant for some time now. 
 
While South-Eastern Coalfields, a CIL subsidiary, is not only headless, the position of director-technical, which includes project-planning and operations, is also due to be filled. Similarly, the position of chairman and managing director, director finance, director technical and director personnel are vacant at Eastern Coalfields. 
 
At Western Coalfields, too, the position of director technical is vacant and the selection process is still in the early stages. Coal India and its three subsidiaries — Bharat Coking Coal Mahanadi Coalfields and Central Coalfields — may also see four board positions vacant, according to data from the government head-hunter Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB). Even at Northern Coalfields, the posts of director finance and director personal are vacant. 
 
“At CIL, keeping board-level posts vacant or filling posts with short-term outlook is now par for the course. The fact that appointments to top positions are a time-consuming process means these will effectively remain vacant for quite some time,” said a former CIL executive.
 
Incidentally, if we consider the case of Anil Kumar Jha, the former CMD of Mahanadi Coalfields, it is seen that finding Jha’s successor has proved to be a little complex. Jha has been appointed by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet on May 18 — nine months after the retirement of Sutirtha Bhattacharya, the former chairman. From then on, the post is technically vacant although Jha is on the additional charge of the post. 
 
Historically, it has been observed that the government has failed in ensuring strong governance in coal companies. For the period between 2014 and 2016, most of the C-suite slots for independent directors in CIL group were vacant. In the meantime, the PESB is having a tough time in filling up the posts. Recently, after interviewing candidates from those of Mahanadi Coalfields, Northern Coalfields, South Eastern Coalfields and Bharat Coking Coal, among others, it failed to find a suitable candidate for the post of director technical at South Eastern Coalfields.
 
Source: New Indian Express