Gujarat: Armed with licences, gas companies unleash talent hunt
Talent hunt is intensifying among city gas distribution (CGD) companies following the government issuing retailing licences for 78 Indian cities in one go in August. With as many as four Gujarat-based companies having bagged licences, hiring activity has intensified, leaving a dent in public sector firms. In the last six months, about half a dozen top honchos have switched sides. Recently, PPG Sarma, former CEO of Gujarat Gas Ltd, joined Torrent Gas Pvt Ltd., a part of Torrent group which forayed into city gas distribution by bagging licences for nine cities. Around the same time, Shridhar Tambraparni, who retired from Adani Gas Ltd., too joined Torrent as vice-president. Gujarat Gas Limited, one of the oldest and largest players in CGD business, has been at the receiving end. In the last two months, the company has lost five senior professionals to Torrent Gas. “The development of CGD networks could result in 80,000-90,000 incremental jobs over the next five years, including contingent jobs,” said Amit Vadera, head-BFSI and PSU, TeamLease Services Ltd, a human resource service company. “There will be more recruitments in CGD space, which is currently dominated by public sector entities. Entry of private players will further increase jobs and entire sector will grow. Existing players such as GGL, Mahanagar Gas Ltd, GAIL Gas and IOC will see some attrition as well,” said a senior official of a CGD company. “Existing players have large pool of manpower and exodus of few employees won’t make much of a difference to them,” said the source, adding that similar trend was witnessed when GSPC Gas and Gujarat State Petronet Limited (GSPL) were launched. Out of the total 86 geographical areas across the country offered under the ninth round of bidding for CGD, Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) has granted licences to retail natural gas in 78 cities. The bidding also saw new entrants such as Torrent Gas, Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Ltd, Essel Gas and consortiums led by Think Gas Investments PTE Ltd and AG&P LNG Marketing Pte Ltd. According to industry estimates, for a new company in CGD business, 100 to 150 professionals are required to build the core team for planning, execution, administration and regulatory clearances. Apart from this, 30 onsite employees are required to serve 1 lakh connections. These jobs pertain to billing, accounting, collection and technical as well as safety support. “Assuming that each of the new 86 cities has minimum 2 lakh connections, 60 people will be required for onsite operations for one city. For all the cities, more than 5,200 people will be required for onsite alone,” said a veteran CGD business professional. Gujarat-based companies grabbed majority of cities with Adani Gas receiving distribution rights for 13 areas on its own and 9 in joint venture with Indian Oil Corporation.