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NC Jha, Director Technical, took charge as the acting Chairman of Coal India (CIL) after Partha S Bhattacharya retired on February 28. He will remain the acting Chairman till the time a new Chairman is selected. Sources say the present Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Coking Coal (BCCL) TK Lahiri has emerged the front runner for the CIL Chairman’s post, but no official announcement has been made yet by the coal ministry.

Bhattacharya has largely been hailed as the personality who changed the identity of coal in India after spearheading Coal India’s IPO, the biggest ever in the country. Dealing with unions in coal is no mean task, and the IPO was more special because of the union’s strong actions to stall the divestment of the PSU. In negotiating with the naysaying union, Bhattacharya—along with Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal—offered each employee a share. The union still did not see reason, but the IPO went off smoothly.

Bhattacharya’s self-set objective was to change the public perception of Coal India, and we daresay he achieved it.

Bhattacharya will now head Haldia Petrochemicals, while Jha has a tough act to follow.

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