|Pradeep Singh Kharola|
Railways. It was not clear when Kharola, currently managing director of Bangalore Metro Rail Corp. Ltd, will take over.
Currently, Mr. Kharola is the Managing Director of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd.
The change of guard at the helm of Air India also comes at a time when the government is in the process of finalising the modalities of the strategic disinvestment of the national carrier.
Kharola, 56, has a PhD in public transport systems from IIT, Delhi, and was principal secretary to the chief minister of Karnataka in 2013. It is likely that Kharola will execute the Air India sale which was announced earlier this year.
“While continuity would have been nice for the airline, he is also a good choice and generally known to be a doer in his Karnataka cadre,” said a bureaucrat who knows both Kharola and Bansal but asked not to be named.
Bansal had started work on the airline’s sale. Earlier this month, he constituted five project teams headed by senior officials to deal with various aspects of the disinvestment. This included a team for finance, human resources, P&F (properties and facilities) department, secretarial and procedural matters and a team for bilateral slots, commercial arrangements.
SBI Capital Markets Ltd has also been appointed to hand-hold Air India during the divestment process.
Air India had total debt of about Rs48,877 crore at the end of March 2017, of which about Rs17,360 crore were aircraft loans and Rs31,517 crore working capital loans. Tata Group, InterGlobe Aviation Ltd (which runs IndiGo), Bird Group and Turkey’s Celebi, are among those who have shown interest in buying some parts of Air India.
Kharola held a Master’s degree in Development Management Development Management from Asian Institute of Management; Manila Philippines.
He also served as Director, Department of Tourism. Government of India. He also served as Director, Department of Women and Child Development; Govt of India.
Born in 1961, he was a brilliant student throughout his career. He served as a Chairman to Urban Development Financing. He has been implementing Metro Rail Project in Bangalore City to ease traffic woes.
He worked as the Managing Director of the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) BMTC provided the backbone of public transport system in the city with a fleet strength of 2200 buses operated by a staff of about 15,000. The BMTC was transformed from a loss making entity with poor quality of service to a profit making company providing a good quality service.
As Director in the Ministry of Tourism in the Government of India, he helped the government in formulating policies for tourism administration and development. (2001-2004). As Joint Secretary of the National Administrative Reforms Commission helped in making reports to reform the administrative system in the country (2005-2009).
He also worked as the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister of Karnataka. It was under his able guidance that Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) turned out to be the only one making profits in the country. In 2013, he won the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration.