The NIT-Patna faculty members, officials and students — present and past — were in a joyous mood on Thursday after Akhauri Manoj Kumar Sinha — an alumnus of the institution earlier known as Bihar College of Engineering — was appointed the stopgap chairman of Indian Oil Corporation.
A Patna boy, Akhauri did his schooling from Patna High School. After completing his Intermediate studies, he joined Bihar College of Engineering (BCE) in 1969.
Akhauri’s friend and batchmate Avinash Chandra Sinha, a teacher at NIT, told The Telegraph: “It is a proud moment not only for NIT but for the entire state because a person from Bihar is heading the biggest oil company of the country.”
A retired chief engineer of Tata, Avinash learnt about the elevation of his friend to the top post of IOC on Thursday.
Avinash said: “A few days back, I talked to Akhauri but he didn’t talk about any such development.”
On Thursday, Akhauri informed Avinash about his appointment.
Recalling the days at Bihar College of Engineering, Avinash said: “Akhauri was brilliant not only in academics but also in extra-curricular activities. He had represented the college in various sports events.”
After graduating from NIT in 1976 as a mechanical engineer, Akhauri joined Indian Oil. He spent 37 years there. Before becoming the chairman of the Indian Oil Corporation, Akhauri held the post of director (planning and business development) on the board of Indian Oil Corporation.
As Bihar College of Engineering was under the Patna University before becoming NIT, Patna University pro-vice-chancellor Ranjit Kumar Verma said: “The elevation of Sinha to the top post of Indian Oil Corporation is not only a proud moment for NIT, but for the entire Patna University family.”
Verma, who has met Akhauri on several occasions, said the man was hardworking and was attached to his roots.
Welcoming the appointment of Akhauri in the top post, NIT director Asok De said: “It is a proud moment for us, as two alumni (the other is Ratan Kumar Sinha, chairman of Atomic Energy Commission of India) are holding top posts. We shall urge them to help their alma mater in terms of placement.” He said Akhauri would be invited to the alumni meet.
Sinha is the second alumnus of NIT-Patna to hold top post of any public sector unit after Ratan Kumar Sinha. An alumnus of 1966 batch, Ratan — the chairman of Atomic Energy Commission of India — has visited NIT on several occasions.