The dark hour

BHEL lacks non-crore vision even as it struggles in its main power equipment business

Photographs by Vishal Koul

You could be excused for thinking B Prasada Rao heads a railway equipment manufacturing company. As we settle into our meeting, bolstered by steaming cups of filter coffee, he delves deep into the technologies that go into making different types of rail locomotives. The talk then shifts to a ₹1,000 crore investment in a greenfield facility at Bhilwara, Rajasthan, to make electrical multiple units (EMUs) and then to the opportunities in the urban metro rail market. All very interesting, but we are in the office of the chairman and managing director of Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) and what is conspicuous by its absence in Rao’s conversation is a discussion on power equipment, the ₹50,015-crore public sector undertaking’s mainstay.