The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Writers’ IT evangelist logs in as Mitsubishi top gun

Calcutta, June 29: D. P. Patra, the principal secretary for information technology in the Bengal government, will join an arm of Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation. This is probably the first time in the past few decades that a secretary from the state government will head for a senior-management post at a multinational.

Patra will take charge as joint managing director at MCC PTA India Corporation, the Japanese chemical giant’s Indian arm, on July 1. He goes to the company at a time when it has embarked on an expansion.

Patra, a Bengal cadre IAS officer of the 1979 batch, has served in different positions: he was sub-divisional officer, under-secretary (home department), additional district magistrate, as well as the district magistrate of Darjeeling.

He joined as the managing director of West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) in January 1997 and became IT secretary in December 2001, when the state government sharpened its focus on IT.

Corporate watchers view Patra’s career switch as an extremely “challenging” one. “A bureaucrat joining a senior management position in an MNC is unheard of. It is really an exciting shift,” they said.

His years at WBIDC helped Patra develop skills in project management, evaluation and implementation, besides giving him an opportunity to understand the business environment and policy framework in India better.

One of his big assignments — that could have endeared him to Mitsubishi — was overseeing the implementation of a pact between Haldia Petrochemicals and MCC PTA, whose terephthalic acid plant at Haldia was completed on schedule at the end of 1999; full-fledged operations started in February 2000.

The two-year project, completed at a cost of approximately $ 383 million, is one of the biggest Japanese investments in the country.

MCC PTA India Corporation is a joint venture of seven companies, in which Mitsubishi Chemical Corp holds a 66 per cent stake, while WBIDC has 5 per cent of the equity. The other shareholders are Nissho Iwai Corporation, Tomen Corporation, Marubeni Corporation and Sumikin Bussan Corporation.

G. D. Gautama, chief executive of Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority, will replace Patra as the IT secretary.

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