Devendra K. Sharma: Chairman, Bhakra Beas Management Board

Chairman, Bhakra Beas Management Board

With a distinguished career of over 30 years in hydropower, Devendra Kumar Sharma was, in April 2017, appointed to run one of India’s most successful dams, the Bhakra dam. He is the new chairman of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB).

Before taking on his current job, Sharma was associated with the Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board for over 10 years. He was instrumental in implementing and commissioning the Tala hydropower station in Bhutan that opened the Indo-Bhutan association in hydropower. Recognised for his acumen in implementing power stations, he has also been associated with L&T for its infrastructure development projects.

A graduate in civil engineering from the University of Indore, Sharma pursued his interest in energy abroad. In 1982, he won the Dutch government’s fellowship for a master’s in Water Resources Engineering from the Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok. Later in his career, he attended courses in hydropower in Canada, Sweden, Hungary, Japan and Norway.

Apart from having experience of working in the public sector in India and Bhutan, he has experience of working in senior positions in the corporate sector for almost six years, constructing hydroelectric projects. But it is primarily in the public sector that he has made contributions, such as in the Nathpa Jhakri project and the Tala hydroelectric project.

While working as managing director, Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation, from 2012 to early 2017, he was responsible for developing hydropower in the state. At BBMB, one of Sharma’s main challenges is to ensure that the water of three rivers – Sutlej, Ravi and Beas – allocated to India under the Indus Treaty of 1960, is utilised and regulated in such a manner that no water goes across the international border.

During his long career, some milestones stand out. These include designing of the Nathpa dam with unstable slopes above the dam; increasing the installed capacity of the Kol Dam project from 600 MW to 800 MW at its planning stage; among others.

Sharma is a team player. He believes in team building and the creation of high performance, efficient teams. According to Sharma, “The most rewarding aspect of this job is that we are responsible for providing food, water and energy security to the country in a substantial manner. We are instrumental in ushering in green and white revolutions and accelerating industrialisation in northern India. That kind of contribution gives me satisfaction.”