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HPL boss bets on right steps

Calcutta, April 1: Haldia Petrochemicals (HPL) can become a global giant with a few right moves, Partha S. Bhattacharyya, the newly appointed managing director of the company, said.

The former Coal India chairman took charge today after Swapan Bhowmik retired last evening, ending a six-year stint.

“The company has all the potential. With a few right moves and full support from the two major stakeholders (the Bengal government and The Chatterjee Group) it can become a global petrochemicals giant,” he said.

Representatives of both the promoters met Bhattacharyya today.

TCG chairman Purnendu Chatterjee, who first approached Bhattacharyya to consider the job after he retired from Coal India on February 28, was at HPL’s Sector V office when Bhattacharyya drove in a little before 10am.

Bhattacharyya and Chatterjee were soon joined by Subrata Gupta, managing director of the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation.

The trio held meetings with the top management. “We had a very open and candid discussion today. Both the promoters were there,” Bhattacharyya said.

Chatterjee is upbeat about the appointment, too. “I think he is a people-oriented man and HPL’s leadership liked him,” he said.

“He had the right credentials. He is the right man for the season and that’s why the board chose Bhattacharyya. I am hopeful. Change is happening at Haldia,” Chatterjee told The Telegraph.

“HPL is fortunate to have a person like Bhattacharyya with such a track record and abilities. He is the right man to take the company to a new level where there are both challenges and opportunities,” said HPL chairman Tarun Das.

The relationship between TCG and the Bengal government has been acrimonious. The Supreme Court has already heard a case over who controls the majority in HPL, and a judgment is due.

Bhattacharyya today met industry minister Nirupam Sen and principal secretary Dipankar Mukhopadhyay, who termed it as a courtesy call.

He is likely to visit the petrochem plant at Haldia tomorrow on HPL’s foundation day.

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