Bhel Chairman to get two-year extension

A panel of secretaries set up by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) today recommended granting two year post-retirement extension to power equipment-maker BHEL Chairman and Managing Director B Prasada Rao.

The move to give two-year extension to Rao, who was to superannuate tomorrow, may open gates for several other PSUs heads like Sudhir Vasudeva of ONGC to get service term beyond 60 years.

An informal committee headed by Pulok Chatterji, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, which met for the second time in four days, decided to give Rao a two-year extension on the ground that the company needed continuity in decision making, sources privy to the development said.

If Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were to approve of the extension, this will be the first case of a Navaratna PSU head being given an extension. The UPA government has so far steadfastly opposed granting extension beyond superannuation.

Rao, who took over as Chairman and Managing Director of BHEL on October 1, 2009, is to superannuate tomorrow upon attaining 60 years of age. Government's headhunter PESB had selected Prakash Chand, an Executive Director in BHEL, as his successor.

Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel had sought an extension for Rao but the proposal had not found favour with Cabinet Secretariat and Home Ministry.

Sources said an extension is being sought for Rao on the ground that his successor is an executive director and lacks board level experience even though he qualifies and was found fit to be Chairman and Managing Director.

The Prime Minister's Office then referred it to the informal committee which included Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth and Department of Heavy Industries Secretary S Behuria as members.

Like Patel, Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily too has sought an extension of service for Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) head Sudhir Vasudeva.

Vasudeva was appointed in October 2011 and would demit office in February. PESB has selected ONGC Videsh chief D K Sarraf, who was director (finance) in parent ONGC, as his successor.

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