Citing accountability and domain knowledge, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has “advised” the Delhi government to withdraw the nomination of Aam Aadmi Party leaders Raghav Chadha, Atishi, Jasmine Shah, and Rajya Sabha MP N D Gupta’s son Naveen Gupta to the DMRC board of directors.
In a letter to Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Dev, Additional Secretary in the ministry K Sanjay Murthy said: “It is pertinent to mention that government nominee directors bring not only domain knowledge and expertise but are also accountable to various tasks of the company for ensuring time-bound implementation of the project. It is easier to hold government officers on the board… accountable, which may not be possible from private institutions.”
The Delhi minister of transport Kailash Gahlot had written to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Saturday, nominating the four new members to the board.
The Delhi government, however, hit back saying this is not the first time a politician has been nominated to the board.
Government spokesperson Nagendar Sharma tweeted: “Under which rule and guideline was late Mr Madan Lal Khurana appointed chairman of DMRC Board by then NDA govt in 2003? This ministry is working without checking any records and facts.”
Khurana, former Delhi CM, was appointed DMRC chairperson in 2002, days before the first Metro route was inaugurated. He was Delhi BJP president at the time.
The ministry and Delhi government have been at loggerheads for over a year now after the fare fixation committee increased Metro fares, a move that was objected to by the Delhi government.
The DMRC board is supposed to have 17 members, but four positions are vacant currently.
In his letter, Murthy also said that as per approvals of Metro projects issued by the Government of India, DMRC is required to adopt guidelines issued by the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) to strengthen corporate governance.
“As per DPE guidelines on composition of Board of Directors issued… officers dealing with the enterprise concerned or handling the issues of the sector should be nominated as government nominee directors,” he wrote.
The letter states that established conventions for all Metro Rail Companies say that nominees be closely involved with implementation of projects. “This is to ensure that individuals well conversant with functional, financial and managerial aspects are represented on the board and contribute to effective decision making,” the letter states.