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National High Speed Rail Corporation: Race to head bullet train project heats up, 7 shortlisted

The shortlist before the search committee, headed by the Cabinet Secretary, is dominated by civil engineers.

Written by Avishek G Dastidar | New Delhi |
January 9, 2017 2:20:06 am
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Two directors from the Board of Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation Limited — Anshuman Sharma, Director (Project Planning) and D S Rana Director (Infrastructure) have also been shortlisted. (Representational image)

The race to the top post of the National High Speed Rail Corporation, which will put on tracks the ambitious bullet train project, has heated up. Seven people have been shortlisted from around 30 applicants for the post of the Managing Director of the corporation. The selection will take place this month.

The shortlist before the search committee, headed by the Cabinet Secretary, is dominated by civil engineers. Only one of the candidates is a current, full-time officer of Railways, while the remaining are civil engineers working with other organisations, like metro projects and rail PSUs.

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Among the shortlisted applicants is Achal Khare, a senior Indian Railways officer currently working as Adviser (Infrastructure) and heading the directorate in Railway Ministry that looks after the high-speed project and has conceived the new company.

Two directors from the Board of Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation Limited — Anshuman Sharma, Director (Project Planning) and D S Rana Director (Infrastructure) have also been shortlisted.

Sailesh Kumar Pathak, currently the Commissioner of Railway Safety (Northern Circle) under the Ministry of Civil Aviation, is the only one in the list who is neither from an SPV nor a PSU and is not involved in any kind of “project implementation” in the strictest sense.

Two members of the boards of metro railways — Mahendra Kumar, Director (Rolling Stock and Systems) at Lucknow Metro, and Subodh Gupta, Director (Project) at Mumbai Metro have also been shortlisted. They are joined by R S Khurana, Director (Project) at Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation Limited.

Sources said the basic criteria to apply for the post included an age limit of 55 years and a Higher Administrative Grade rank. Thanks to that, many so-called heavyweights were out of the race in the initial screening.

Even though the criteria laid down were service-neutral, not a single non-engineer has been shortlisted.

The three-member search committee is headed by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha and includes Chairman, Railway Board, A K Mital, and Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training, B P Sharma. After the selection of the MD, posts of other directors in the corporation will be filled.

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