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Navin Kumar appointed Urban Development Secretary

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Mr Navin Kumar, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1975 batch (Bihar cadre), has been appointed as the Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development.


Mr Kumar is currently the Principal Adviser in the Planning Commission. He will succeed Mr M Ramachandran, who retired yesterday.


An official press release said the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet had also approved the appointment of Mr Jayant Prasad, an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1976 batch as Special Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs.

Justice Jainarayan Patel appointed Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court

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The President has appointed Mr Justice Jainarayan Patel, Judge of the Bombay High Court, as the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office.


Mr Justice Patel will succeed Mr Justice Mohit Shah, who was earlier transferred as the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court.


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Justice Mohit Shah transferred as Chief Justice of Bombay High Court

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The President has, in consultation with the Chief Justice of India, transfered Mr Justice Mohit Shantilal Shah, Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court, as the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court.


An official press release said Mr Justice Shah had been directed to assume charge of his new office on or before July 10.


A separate announcement said the President had also appointed Mr Justice Ferdino Inacio Rebello, Judge of the Bombay High Court, as the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office.


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Shaik Shakir Hussain new CEO of Haj Committee

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Dr Shaik Shakir Hussain, an officer of the Indian Revenue Service (IRS), has been appointed as the next Chief Executive Officer, Haj Committee of India, Mumbai.


An official press release from the Ministry of External Affairs said Dr Hussain, currently the Additional Director of Income Tax, Hyderabad, would succeed Mr Mohammed Owais. He will have a tenure of three years with effect from July 1, it added.


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Maj Gen Pramod Behl is new DG Resettlement of Army

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Major General Pramod Behl has taken over the Director General Resettlement (DGR) of the Indian Army.


An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, Pune, he was commissioned n the Grenadiers Regiment of the Infantry in 1976.


An official press release said Maj Gen Behl has held various important instructional, staff and command appointments.  He is a post-graduate from the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington. He has undergone a large number of important courses including senior and higher command courses as well as Conflict Management Course in International Law at National Defence College, Sweden. 


The General Officer has commanded a unit on the Line of Control, a Brigade in the North East and another in the UN Mission in Congo. He has held instructional appointments at National Defence Academy, Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School, Defence Services Staff College as well as various staff appointments as Brigade Major of a Brigade, Colonel (War Games) in Army Training Command (ARTRAC), Colonel (Planning) of a Strike Corps.


Before his appointment as DGR, he served as Commandant, Assam Riffles Training Centre and later as DDG(MS) of National Cadet Corps, the release added.


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Former Union Minister Digvijay Singh passes away in London

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File photo of Digvijay Singh.
File photo of Digvijay Singh.

Former Union Minister Digvijay Singh, an independent member of the Lok Sabha from Banka in Bihar, died of brain haemorhage in a hospital in London today, his aides said here.

He was 54. He is survived by his wife and two daughters. Arrangements were being made to bring his body to Delhi by tomorrow, the aides told NetIndian.

Mr Singh, a former leader of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), had contested and won the 2009 Lok Sabha elections from Banka in Bihar as an independent candidate.

Mr Singh, who was President of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) since March, 1999, had gone to London to attend a meeting related to the Commonwealth Games to be hosted by Delhi in October this year.

He suffered a heart attack there on June 10 and was admitted to the St Thomas Hospital, where he breathed his last this morning (around noon IST), the sources added.

Born on November 14, 1955, Mr Singh was educated at the Patna University, the Jawaharlal University, Delhi and the Tokyo University.

He was a member of the Rajya Sabha from 1990-96, during which he served as Union Deputy Minister for Finance and then Deputy Minister for External Affairs.

He was also elected to the Lok Sabha thrice, the first time in 1998. He sered as Union Minister of State for Railways from October 1999 to July 2001, Minister of State for Commerce from July 2001 to August 2001 and again as Minister of State for Railways from September 2001 to June 2002.

He served as Minister of State for External Affairs in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government from July 2002 to May 2004.

Vice-President M Hamid Ansari expressed grief over the death of Mr Singh and said the former Union Minister had a significant record of service to the country and especially to the state of Bihar.

"He served the people with distinction during his many years in public life and always worked for the upliftment of poor and the downtrodden and earned the respect and admiration of the people for his dedication, sense of public service, innate simplicity and honesty. His services to the country shall always be remembered," he said.

In his condolence message to Mr Singh's wife, Ms Putul Kumari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described the MP from Banka as a widely respected leader who worked selflessly for the country, his State and the people.

"His three terms in the Lok Sabha and two in the Rajya Sabha bear testimony to his popularity among the people of Bihar.  He excelled as a Minister in the Central Government, showing remarkable administrative acumen.  A keen sportsman, Mr Singh also served as President of the National Rifle Association and Vice President of the Indian Olympic Association. 

"Mr Digvijay Singh will be remembered for his contribution to our society and our people in a variety of ways," the Prime Minister said.

Condoling his death, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar said the country had lost an eminent parliamentarian, able administrator and a farsighted political leader.

"Throughout his public life and during his various stints in key Ministries at the Centre, he was genuinely concerned about the issues relating to the masses, particularly those which affected the poor and the deprived. His contribution in different areas of national endeavor, including in the sports administration, was highly commendable," she said.

Minister of Railways Mamata Banerjee said Mr Singh was a dynamic politician who served the people with dedication and commitment. "He always worked tirelessly for the uplift of downtrodden and weaker sections of the society," she added.

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Justice Madan Lokur appointed Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court

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Justice Madan B. Lokur
Justice Madan B. Lokur

The President has appointed Mr Justice Madan Bhimarao Lokur, Judge of the Delhi High Court, as the Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court.


An official press release said here today that the appointment would be with effect from the date he assumed charge of his office.


Mr Justice Lokur, 56, an alumnus of the St Stephen's College, Delhi, obtained the LL.B. degree from the Faculty of Law, Delhi University in 1977 and enrolled as an advocate that year. He practised in the Supreme Court of India and the Delhi HIgh Court and has vast experience in Civil, Criminal, Constitutional, Revenue and Service laws.


He was appointed as Additional Solicitor General of India in July 1998. He was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Delhi High Court in February 1999 and a Permanent Judge of that High Court in July 1999. He had functioned as the Acting Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court from February 13 this year to May 21. He is due to retire on December 31, 2015.


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Satya Mann named next Ambassador to Angola

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Mr Satya P Mann, at present India's High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, has been appointed as the country's next Ambassador to Angola.


An official press release from the Ministry of External Affairs said Mr Mann, who will succeed Mr A R Ghanashyam, was expected to take up his assignment shortly.


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Yogendra Pratap Singh to be India's first Ambassador to Niger

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Mr Yogendra Pratap Singh, currently the Consul-General of India at Mandalay in Myanmar, has been appointed as the country's first Ambassador to Niger.


An official press release from the Ministry of External Affairs said here today the earlier appointment of Mr Vinod Kumar Sachdeva to the position stood cancelled. Mr Singh is expected to take up his assignment shortly, it added.


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Justice M Yusuf Eqbal appointed Chief Justice of Madras High Court

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Hon'ble Mr. Justice M.Y.Eqbal
Hon'ble Mr. Justice M.Y.Eqbal

The President has appointed Mr Justice M Yusuf Eqbal, a Judge of the Jharkhand High Court, as the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court.


Ms Justice Rekha Manharlal Doshit, a Judge of the Gujarat High Court, has been appointed as the Chief Justice of the Patna High Court.


The appointments will be with effect from the date they assume charge of their offices, an official press release added.


Mr Justice Eqbal, 59, had enrolled as an advocate in 1975 and initially practised exclusively in civil side in civil courts in Ranchi. He shifted practice to the Ranchi Bench of the Patna High Court in 1986 and became Government Pleader there in 1990. In 1993, he became Government Advocate in the High Court. He was appointed as a permanent Judge of the Patna High Court on May 9, 1996. In November, 2000, he became a Judge of the Jharkhand High Court.


Ms Justice Doshit, 58, enrolled as an advocate with the Bar Council of Gujarat in April, 1977. She was elevated to the Bench of the Gujarat High Court as Additional Judge in September, 1995 and confirmed as Permanent Judge in June, 1997.


The President has also appointed Mr Tarun Kumar Gupta, Mr Ragunath Bhattacharya, Mr Asim Kumar Ray, Mr Mrinal Kanti Chaudhuri and Mr Kanchan Chakraborty to be judges of the Calcutta High Court, in that order of seniority, with effect from the dates they assume charge of their respective offices.


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J M Phatak appointed CMD of REC

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Dr J M Phatak, currently Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, has been appointed as the Chairman and Managing Director of the public sector Rural Electrification Corporation Limited in the vacancy of Mr P Uma Shankar.


An official press release said here today that Dr Phatak's appointment had been approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).


Dr Phatak, an officer of the 1978 batch of the Indian Administrative Service (Maharashtra cadre), would have the rank and pay of Additional Secretary.


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Ashok Attri named next Ambassador to Denmark

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Mr Ashok Kumar Attri, currently the Consul General of India at Chicago, has been appointed as the country's next Ambassador to Denmark.


An official press release from the Ministry of External Affairs said Mr Attri, who will succeed Mr Yogesh Kumar Gupta, was expected to take up his new assignment shortly.


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Bhaswati Mukherjee appointed Ambassador to the Netherlands

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Ms Bhaswati Mukherjee, currently India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Paris, has been appointed as the next Ambassador to the Netherlands.


An official press release from the Ministry of External Affairs said Ms Mukherjee, who will succeed Mr Manbir Singh, was expected to take up her assignment shortly.


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T C A Anant appointed Chief Statistician of India

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Prof T C A Anant, Professor, Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics, has been appointed as the Chief Statistician of India (Secretary, National Statistical Commission).


He will have concurrent charge as Secretary, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, an official press release said here.


It said Prof Anant's appointment was cleared by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister.


The appointment will be for a period of five years from the date of assumption of charge of the post, or until further orders, whichever is earlier, subject to the outcome of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT)/Court cases, the release added.


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Justice M.N. Rao new head of National Commission for Backward Classes

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Mr Justice (Retd.) Makani Narayan Rao, former Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court, today assumed office as the Chairperson of the National Commission for Backward Classes.


Mr Justice Rao, who hails from Nellore in Andhra Pradesh, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts and Law from Andhra University and a Master's in Law from Madras University.


He practised in the Andhra Pradesh High Court prior to his appointment as District and Sessions Judge in 1973. Between 1979 and 1983 he worked as Secretary (Law and Legislative Affairs), Government of Andhra Pradesh.

He was appointed as a permanent Judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in July 1986. He served as the Chief Justice of High Court of Himachal Pradesh from November 1997 to April 1998.

The National Commission for Backward Classes was set up under the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993, pursuant to the direction of the Supreme Court in the Mandal case judgement for setting up a national body for Backward Classes at the Centre as a permanent body.


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Gauri Shankar Gupta to be Ambassador to Bosnia, Herzegovina

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Mr Gauri Shankar Gupta, Ambassador of India to Hungary, has been concurrently accredited as the country's Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina.


An official press release from the Ministry of External Affairs said Mr Gupta would have residence at Budapest.


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Justice Balakrishnan appointed Chairperson of NHRC

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File photo of retired Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan.
File photo of retired Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan.

The President has appointed Mr Justice (Retired) K G Balakrishnan, former Chief Justice of India (CJI), as the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

Mr Justice Balakrishnan had served as CJI from January 14, 2007 to May 12 this year, when he retired.

Mr Justice Balakrishnan, 65, had enrolled as an advocate on March 16, 1968 and had practised on both the civil and criminal sides at Ernakulam. He was appointed as a munsif in the Kerala Judicial Service in January, 1973 but resigned from service and resumed practice as an advocate in the Kerala High Court.

He was appointed as a Judge of the Kerala High Court on September 26, 1985. He was transferred to Gujarat High Court in November, 1997. On July 16 1998, he came the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court. He was transferred to the Madras High Court and assumed charge there as Chief Justice on September 9, 1999. On June 8, 2000, he was elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court.

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Vandana Kumari Jena appointed Adviser in Planning Commission

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The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of Ms Vandana Kumari Jena as an Adviser in the Planning Commission.


Ms Jena is from the 1979 batch of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) (Orissa Cadre) and is presently posted in her cadre.


An official press release said the ACC had also approved the continuation of Dr Ashok K Lahiri as Executive Director in Asian Development Bank (ADB) for one more year beyond June 30 this year.


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Ramakrishnan is Director, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre

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S Ramakrishnan
S Ramakrishnan

Mr S Ramakrishnan, Distinguished Scientist of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and hitherto Director (Projects), Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram, has assumed the office of Director, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, Thiruvananthapuram.

An official press release from ISRO said here today that Mr Ramakrishnan took over the charge from Mr M K G Nair, the outgoing Director, on May 31.

According to it, Mr Ramakrishnan has made significant contribution to the launch vehicle technology in the country starting from the very first SLV-3 project.

After obtaining an M. Tech degree from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Chennai, Mr Ramakrishnan joined VSSC in 1972. His first assignment was in SLV-3 Project, wherein he was responsible for the design and development of Reaction Control Systems. He played a key role in the development of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and was responsible for the development of liquid propulsion stages and their interfacing with vehicle and launch operations.

Under his leadership as Project Director, PSLV Continuation programme (PSLV-C1 to C4), operationalisation of PSLV and enhancing the payload capability from 900 kg to 1500 kg was accomplished. As Project Director, GSLV Mark III, Mr Ramakrishnan steered the Project during the crucial phase of design, engineering and realisation of first-off hardware for development test.

The release said that, as Director (Projects) at VSSC and Chairman, Project Management Council, Mr Ramakrishnan provided technical guidance and programmatic direction to ISRO Launch Vehicle Projects as well as new developmental activities.

Mr Ramakrishnan played a lead role in the formulation of Indian Human Spaceflight Project (HSP) and completion of system concept reviews.

The Government had honoured Mr Ramakrishnan with the Padma Shri in 2003.

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Air Marshal Ganguly is new DG, Medical Services (Air)

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Air Marshal Dipankar Ganguly took over as the Director General Medical Services (Air) here today, an official press release said.


Commissioned on 22 May, 1973, Air Marshal Ganguly did his MBBS from the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), Pune in 1972 and specialized in Cardiothoracic Surgery in 1989.


He had been posted to prestigious medical units like Military Hospital, Cardiothoracic Centre MH (CTC), Pune as Clinical Specialist and as Senior Advisor and Consultant at Army Hospital (Research & Referral). He also served as Deputy Commandant at Army Hospital (Research & Referral) and as Commandant, Command Hospital (Northern Command) and subsequently as DCIDS (Med) at HQ Integrated Defence Services (IDS).


For his distinguished service, Air Marshal Ganguly has been awarded Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM) twice by the President of India, the release added.


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Hiroshi Takashina assumes charge as MD at Nikon India

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Hiroshi Takashina
Hiroshi Takashina

Imaging products major Nikon India today announced the appointment of Mr. Hiroshi Takashina as the new Managing Director for India.

Mr. Takashina took over fom Mr. Hidehiko Tanaka yesterday, a press release issued by the company said here today.

It said Mr Takashina, who joined Nikon in Tokyo in April 2007, came in with a vast experience in marketing and sales.

Before joining Nikon, Mr Takashina worked with one of Japan's leading automobile manufacturers for more than 24 years, looking after Middle East, Africa and Europe.

Mr Tanaka said that, by naming Mr Takashina as his successor, Nikon had reiterated its commitment to the Indian market and its interest in promoting the photography culture in the country.

"I am convinced that under the new leadership, we will further scale up our presence across India, and reach out to consumers and the photographic community in a larger way. His one and half year performance here in India to lead the sales and marketing team instilled confidence in me that he can take over the new role as Managing Director of Nikon India," he said.

The release said Mr Tanaka would move back to Japan to take over a new assignment within Nikon Corporation.

"This is both a challenging and exciting time for me as I accept this new role at Nikon India. Nikon brings to its users innovative technology in a user friendly package which is by far the most important element in any camera in this new era. My job is to build on those foundations and create a business that delivers value to Nikon business partners as well as its customers," Mr Takashina said.

Nikon India distributes markets and services the complete range of Nikon imaging products in India. These include cameras, lenses, service and repair of industrial products, microscopes and technical measuring instruments.

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Lt Gen H L Kakria takes over as DG, Medical Services (Army)

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Lt Gen H L Kakria has taken over as the new Director General of Medical Services (Army) from Lt Gen S R Mehta who has retired.


A recipient of the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and Vishisht Seva medal, Lt Gen Kakria did his MBBS from GSVM Medical College, Kanpur and joined the Army Medical Corps on February 14, 1972. He did his MS (General Surgery) in 1980 and MS (Orthopaedics) in 1989 from Pune University and stood first in the University.


He is an undergraduate and post graduate teacher and examiner of MS (Orthopaedics), Pune University as well as teacher and examiner, DNB (Orthopaedics) National Board of Examination, New Delhi.


During his 38 years in the Army, the General Officer has held various appointments in Service Hospitals as well as Field Medical Units of the Armed Forces Medical Services. He has also held senior administrative appointments such as Commandant Base Hospital, Delhi Cantonment, Commandant ALC, Pune and Commandant, Command Hospital (SC) Pune.


He has also served as Major General (Medical), HQ Southern Command, Pune prior to assuming the appointment of commandant of AMC Centre and College Lucknow where Basic Military Training is imparted to Medical Officers and Dental Officers of Army/ Navy/ Air Force as well as members of MNS and the Paramedical Staff.


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Rita Sharma named Secretary, National Advisory Council

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Ms Rita Sharma, a 1974 batch officer of the Indian Administrative Service (Uttar Pradesh cadre), has been appointed as the Secretary of the National Advisory Council (NAC) headed by ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.


An official press release said Ms Sharma would have the rank and pay of Secretary to the Government of India. Her appointment, on contract basis, will be until further orders, it added.


On March 29, Ms Gandhi was named as the Chairperson of the new NAC that the Government constituted. She had served as Chairperson of the NAC in the first term of the UPA Government before resigning in 2006 in the wake of the "office of profit" controversy.


The NAC was set up to advise the Government on policy matters and had an important role in the enactment of the Right to Information Act and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.


Ms Gandhi decided to quit when the Opposition used the Office of Profit law to attack her and her position as head of the NAC.


It was widely expected that the UPA would constitute the NAC again in its second term. This time around, it is expected to play a crucial role in such programmes as the Food Security Act.


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Vivek Sahai is new Chairman, Railway Board

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Vivek Sahai takes over as Chairman, Railway Board, in New Delhi on May 31, 2010.
Vivek Sahai takes over as Chairman, Railway Board, in New Delhi on May 31, 2010.

Mr Vivek Sahai took over as the Chairman of the Railway Board and ex-officio Principal Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Railways, here today.

He succeeds Mr S S Khurana, who superannuated from service today. He was Member (Traffic) in the Railway Board from December 28, 2009.

Mr Sahai, an Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) officer of the 2973 batch had earlier served as General Manager, Northern Railway, General Manager, North Central Railway, Additional Member Traffic, Railway Board, Chief Operations Manager, Western Railway, Divisional Railway Manager, Mumbai, Central Railway, Chief Freight Transportation Manager, Western Railway, Executive Director, Railway Board, New Delhi, and Chief Operations Manager, Konkan Railway Corporation Limited.

He also has extensive experience in suburban train operations in Mumbai, having worked as Divisional Railway Manager, Mumbai Division of Central Railway and Additional General Manager, Western Railway.

Mr Sahai has a post-graduate degree in Science (Physics) from Allahabad University. He has been trained in US Rail Roads & SNCF (French Railways) under UNDP Project in the year 1989. He was also part of an Indian delegation which was sent to study the privatization of British Railways in 1996. He has also participated in advanced leadership programme held at Stern Business School, New York, in 2007.

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Rajiv Agarwal new CEO, MD of Essar Shipping Ports & Logistics

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Essar Shipping Ports and Logistics Limited (ESPLL), a part of the Essar Group, today said Mr Rajiv Agarwal had been appointed as the CEO and Whole-time Director of the company.


He has also been nominated as Managing Director subject to the approval of members of the company in the ensuing annual general meeting, an official press release said.


It said Mr Sanjay Mehta had desired to step down from his position as MD at the AGM upon his resuming a larger role in Essar Group’s growing operations in London and Europe. He has planned his succession in consultation with the Board of ESPLL.


Mr Sanjay Mehta has been with the Essar Group for over a decade. He has been at the helm of ESPLL since 2000. Under his stewardship, ESPLL has witnessed tremendous growth with major investments in shipping, logistics and in ports & terminals and has been credited with transforming Essar Shipping from being a core shipping company to a complete logistics service provider with a major presence in ports & terminals in India.


"I am glad that we are able to capitalize on the strengths of the talents that we have nurtured within the Group. Both Sanjay and Rajiv are committed professionals. I am confident that with them at the helm of their respective fields, they will take the business to greater heights," Mr Shashi Ruia, Chairman, Essar Group, said.


Prior to this appointment, Mr Agarwal was the CEO of The MobileStore Limited. He successfully started and managed this company to make it the largest retail chain in the telecom sector. He was also the Executive Director and CFO of Essar Shipping during 1998-2002.


Mr Agarwal is a Chartered Accountant and a cost accountant with more than 25 years of experience at a senior level in various industries like retail, BPO, telecom, manmade fibres and shipping and transportation. He has served on the Boards of Directors of listed companies in India and the United States.


Mr Mehta is an alumnus of the London Business School. Prior to joining as MD of Essar Shipping in 2000 he has worked with Hambros Bank, London, Goldman Sachs, New York and American Marine Advisors, New York.


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