The Shipping Ministry has entrusted Harjeet Kaur Joshi, chairperson and managing director of Shipping Corporation of India Ltd (SCI) with the additional role of managing director of India Ports Global Ltd, the state-owned entity tasked with developing and running the India-funded Chabahar port in Iran.
The three-month “temporary assignment” given to HK Joshi has baffled those tracking the strategic port venture, the first by a government-owned firm overseas, as it navigates the challenges surrounding the project after the United States re-imposed sanctions on the Persian Gulf nation, slowing down the progress of the port considerably.
Joshi assumed the additional role on Friday (September 18) after the incumbent Arun Kumar Gupta’s four-year term at the helm of IGPL ended.
“This is the importance they give to a project of critical importance to India’s geopolitical strategy,” a person briefed on the development said adding that the government should have handled succession planning at IGPL better.
It had received four applications for the post of managing director of IPGL when it was advertised a few months ago. The interview for the post is yet to be held, the person said. A replacement for Gupta should have been selected before he demitted office to help the new managing director transition into the role smoothly industry sources said.
“When she leaves after three months by handing over charge hopefully to the new managing director selected by the government, there will be total misconnect,” said an industry official.
“What message will it give to the Iranians and others on this strategic project,” he asked.
India Ports Global and Aria Banader Iranian Port & Marine Services Company (ABI) of Iran signed a deal in May 2016 to equip and operate the container and multi-purpose terminals at Shahid Beheshti – Chabahar Port Phase-I with capital investment of $85.21 million and annual revenue expenditure of $22.95 million on a 10-year lease. Cargo revenues collected will be shared by India and Iran as per an agreed formula.
Source: The Hindu Business Line