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Fourth CMD in 2 years

Fourth CMD in 2 years

Quick turnovers are not the salient feature of a vibrant economy alone, it seems. Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) has seen turnovers of a different kind: four CMDs in two years. Rajeev Sharma takes over the reins from HD Khunteta who took over from JM Phatak only in May last year for a period of “three months or until further orders”. He served for seven months, while Phatak was CMD for less than a year. As Director of Projects at Power Finance Corporation (PFC), Sharma brings in an interesting perspective into the picture.REC has lately treated Bigger Brother PFC as a competitor, and such healthy competition is healthy—indeed, aspirational—for government agencies and PSUs.

Sharma has also served as Executive Director of APDRP, Human Resources and Administration of PFC, and Chairman of Chhattisgarh Surguja Power Limited and Coastal Tamil Nadu Power Limited. He has also served with CEA, Ministry of Power and Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd. Among other things, Sharma was responsible at PFC for development of Krishnapatnam Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) and for implementation of R-APDRP projects in India aimed at wide-spread improvement in urban power distribution system.

This width of experience and Sharma's understanding of both the power business and the finance sides of the domain may add a feather to his cap, even as REC will be hoping that his planned tenure of five years will be completed. At 51, Sharma's superannuation is a while off, so the tricky question of financing power in the period of newly limelighted uncertainty in linkages and discom losses.

As Sharma steps into new shoes, the environment is challenging because the response to REC's issue of tax saving bonds, launched in the third week of December aiming to raise around Rs 1,000 crore, has not been up to the PSU's expectations. Recently, both PFC and REC had stopped lending to discoms in an effort to make financing more professional by demanding viable and creditworthy financial projections. Now, with new guidelines in place from the government on how states can save their skin mainly by raising tariffs and regular auditing, they have both resumed financing.

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