Steel Ministry forms panel to scout for new NMDC chief

After letting state-run mineral major NMDC Limited run headless for more than one-and-half year, the steel ministry has started the process of finding a person to head the PSU. The ministry has formed a committee to recommend a new chief for NMDC. The PSU has been without a permanent chairman and managing director since December 31, 2011, when the former head retirement.

Steel minister Beni Prasad Verma had earlier rejected a candidate short-listed by the public enterprise selection board.

The five-member committee, headed by Planning Commission member Arun Maira has been entrusted to zero in on the candidate.

Verma had cast reservations on the selection of MS Rana, currently chief of state-run SPMCL by the public enterprise selection board as the CMD for NMDC.

NMDC's technical director NK Nanda who was appointed as the PSU's acting chief had to be removed as the department of personnel and training objected to his continuation in the absence of clearance from the central vigilance commission which is inquiring into an allegation pertaining to a tender for one of the PSU's plants. The government then asked SAIL chairman CS Verma to assume additional charge of NMDC on May 26, 2012.

While the Maira committee is expected to take reasonable time in recommending a candidate, it is unlikely that the new incumbent would be finalised before June, a senior ministry official said.

The ministry sought to alter the selection criteria for the top job by insisting that a person with mining background should lead the PSU. This despite the fact that CS Verma has a finance background.

In the absence of a full-time chief, the mining giant's production and sales plummeted by over 13 per cent during the April-November period of this financial year. The company also sustained a nearly 15 per cent decline in its net profit at Rs 1,678.62 crore for the second quarter in 2012-13.

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