It has been a fulfilling journey in the hydropower sector for K.M. Singh, chairman and managing director (CMD), NHPC. It was always his ambition to help ordinary Indians get a better life. In fact, one of his key reasons for choosing engineering as a profession was that he felt it would give him a chance to “create” something lasting, tangible and, in the case of hydro, something through which he could make a difference to people’s lives. Since electricity is the sine qua non of a better life, entering the power sector after finishing his electrical engineering from Gorakhpur University was the natural choice. He joined NHPC in 1979 and has been with the company ever since.
NHPC has been performing well and has just delivered its best performance this year in terms of generation. It is now a 5,000 MW company on a standalone basis. Four hydro projects with a total capacity of 3,210 MW are under construction and 6,995 MW of projects are at various stages of clearances. Singh says that the aim is to commission these projects as early as possible and become a 10,000 MW company. “To achieve this target, I have devised a roadmap emphasising efficient decision-making. Apart from hydro, we intend to venture into renewables too, and envisage four projects with 230 MW capacity on an ownership basis. Further, a solar project in Kalpi, Uttar Pradesh, and a thermal project in Pirpainti, Bihar, are under consideration as joint ventures,” he says.
As to his work style, Singh believes in adapting his management style to the demands of the situation. He leads by example, keeps his door open to everyone, encourages people to suggest ideas and recognises achievements.
In spite of his busy schedule, Singh makes time for yoga and meditation. He regards this regimen, which he has been following for decades, as crucial for his physical, mental and spiritual well-being. He also enjoys reading, particularly biographies of great personalities. The works of Swami Vivekananda are among his favourites. Spending time with his family is important to him. He says that his wife, son and daughter have always been supportive during times of disappointment.
Looking ahead, Singh says that taking NHPC to new heights, along with a highly satisfied employee base, is his top priority. He has a clear vision and wants to make NHPC one of the most prestigious organisations in the sector, one that is ready for challenges and opportunities not only in hydro but also in solar, wind and thermal.