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Nalco, Hindustan Copper boards to have new government-appointed director

Wednesday, Oct 26, 2016

India’s ministry of mines has decided to replace Nikunja Bihari Dhal, a 1993-batch Indian Administrative Officer (IAS) from the Odisha cadre, from the boards of state-run National Aluminium Co. Ltd (Nalco) and Hindustan Copper Ltd (HCL).  

Dhal is a joint secretary in the mines ministry heading the metals division and is also part-time official director on the boards of Nalco and HCL. 

According to a recent order, Subhash Chandra, another joint secretary in the ministry has been given charge of the metals division. Chandra also replaces Dhal as director on the boards of Nalco and HCL, according to two government officials familiar with the development.

Chandra is a 1988-batch Indian Forest Service officer from the AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory) cadre. Dhal is on leave till 11 November on health grounds.

This comes in the backdrop of India’s ministry of commerce and Industry ruling out imposing minimum import price on aluminium and is of the view that the World Trade Organization non-compliant measure will tarnish the country’s image globally.

“There was a proposal regarding change in the government nominated director at both Nalco and HCL. Finally, it has been decided upon,” said one of the government officials who did not want to be named.

Queries emailed to spokespersons of the ministry of mines, Nalco and HCL on 21 October remained unanswered. Also, Dhal and Chandra could not be reached for comments. 

India has an aluminium production capacity of 2.05 million tonnes (MT), of which Nalco’s production accounts for 0.374 MT.

According to the London Metal Exchange (LME), price of aluminium on October 25 was at 1620 dollar per tonne.

Analysts, however, doubt that there is a need for MIP on aluminium. 

“A majority of aluminium is being imported in the form of scrap. However, domestic demand of the metal is not high and large amount of aluminium is also being imported,” said Jayanta Roy, senior vice-president at Icra Ltd, a rating agency.

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