PSUs sans Assamese

Thursday, 14 November 2019

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PSUs sans Assamese

Swapnil Bharali | November 02, 2019 13:41 hrs


Sushil Chandra Mishra has taken over as the Chairman & Managing Director of Oil India Limited (OIL) marking the first time in several years when there is not a single Assamese on the Board of Directors of the PSU. 


For long, the nationally and internationally operational PSUs that have presence in Assam (or northeast for that matter) like ONGC and OIL have been managed by engineers and administrators who are not from this region. Can’t help it! But a certain service policy states that it is mandatory for engineers and administrators working in such PSUs to serve a three-year stint in the northeast. I have always wondered about the intent of this rule and whether its purpose was to upgrade the quality of the local human resources through their work interactions with these more “qualified” engineers. I mean, what else could it be? But if that is so, the purpose of the intent has not been served; most such people (certainly not all) take the three-year stint as a punishment posting which cannot be avoided. And so, rather than “serve” the area, they treat it as a fiefdom to throw their weight around, exploit and then leave with a sigh of relief. This service rule is usually applicable to the officers in the middle and top management and includes both engineers and administrators. 


Now there is no point blaming an engineer or a public relation officer from say, upmarket Ahmedabad, who has to come and serve in Nazira (obviously leaving his family behind for reasons of children’s education et al) for being apathetic towards the region and taking his mandatory three-year stint as nothing more than a punishment. From the local perception, there is simply no mass resentment about such officers and engineers serving here simply because they are “irreplaceable” locally. The hullabaloo over the region’s unemployment scenario is always over the menial but permanent lower-ranked jobs in the Railways or in our petroleum refineries/drilling companies where locals often tend to be overlooked in favour of “outsiders” because of political reasons. Biharis filling up such lower ranked posts rather than Assamese within the jurisdiction of NF Railway was quite a heartburn a few years ago remember? 


And so, for a company that has always been perceived to be “Assamese” per se, OIL’s change of guard is one indicator of worry about Assam’s dwindling quality of human resources.

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