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Bridge & Roof health worries govt

New Delhi, Aug. 16: Calcutta-based Bridge & Roof’s performance has slipped dramatically since it staged a remarkable turnaround three years ago when it went from being a sick entity to being awarded the “best turnaround company”, bagging the coveted miniratna status on the way.

The department of heavy industry is concerned over the stagnant turnover of the company, which is being attributed to differences in the top echelons of management.

The engineering firm reported a turnover of Rs 1,321.32 crore in 2012-13, lower than Rs 1,265.11 crore in 2011-12 and Rs 1,333.49 crore in 2010-11.

Profit has also declined to Rs 90.95 crore in 2012-13 from Rs 93.53 crore 2011-12 and Rs 107.57 crore in 2010-11.

Officials pointed out that this year’s performance was far below the target set in a memorandum of understanding signed by the ministry with Bridge & Roof where the turnover was set at Rs 1,550 crore and profit at Rs 124 crore. The firm has not been able to meet performance targets for the last two years, officials said.

Ministry officials said following the turnaround, the company’s performance had been stagnant. This can be attributed to the continued management tussle. It had been awarded the “best turnaround company in 2010” by the government.

Minister of state for railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury in a letter to heavy industries minister Praful Patel has sought his personal intervention to resolve the issues related to the firm.

In 2010, the government had granted the miniratna category I status to the multi-disciplinary engineering and construction company, which provides services to firms such as Bhel and NTPC.

Category-I miniratna firms can incur a capital expenditure of up to Rs 500 crore on new projects, modernisation and the purchase of equipment without the government’s approval.

Bridge & Roof’s previous chief executive Mukesh Jha was replaced by M.K. Singh, director (projects), who also holds charge in three more PSUs.

The engineering firm’s executive association had filed a petition before the Delhi high court challenging the selection, which they maintained, was in contravention of rules. The issue is now before Justice Valmiki J. Mehta of the high court.

The petitioners said M.K. Singh, who was working for Richardson & Cruddas, was picked by the selection committee after a review of his annual confidential reports for only two years.

For internal candidates, reports for five years were considered in accordance with the selection criterion laid down in the advertisement for the post.

The petition said the selection of a rank outsider had demoralised the morale of the workers of Bridge and Roof Company.

 
 
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