Guwahati: The first Managing Director of Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) Ranjit Kumar Dutta passed away today at Kolkata after a brief illness at the age of 75. He also held the position of CMD of Oil India Limited.
Former Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal tweeted, "Deeply saddened by the demise of founder MD of Numaligarh Refinery Ltd & ex-CMD of Oil India Ltd, Ranjit Kumar Datta. My heartfelt condolences to the family and prayers for eternal peace of the departed soul. Om Shanti."
Dutta was considered a colossus in the Oil and Gas Industry in the country and his contribution to the development of the Oil and Gas industry in the North East is unparalleled. He was one of the rare professionals in the Indian oil industry who had worked, headed, and excelled in all the streams of the oil industry, i.e., downstream, upstream, and midstream.
He started his career at Assam Oil Company, Digboi, the birthplace of the oil industry in India. As a hard-core oil marketing professional, he expanded Assam Oil's penetration in retail marketing by building up retail outlets, developing fleet owners, building storage and supply terminals all over North East India.
One of his biggest achievements was the introduction of LPG in the army cookhouses in 1985. Assam Oil was the first company to introduce this green fuel in the cook houses of the army at a time when the general perception was to use kerosene or firewood as a kitchen fuel all over the country.
Dutta was able to strengthen and spread the marketing network throughout the North-Eastern India and the visibility of its logo of the Charging one horn rhino is seen even today all across the northeastern region. He headed the organisation for 11 long years till 1995.
In 1995, he was handpicked by the Government of India to head the historic 'Assam Accord' refinery now known as Numaligarh Refinery Limited. He not only constructed and commissioned the refinery within its scheduled time but also created a new company - a PSU which is a glowing example of a successful business enterprise in the region.
In 2015, he has conferred the 'Outstanding Achievement Award' at the Annual Technical Conference organized by 'Oil and Maritime on Indian Drilling and Exploration' in Mumbai. The Conference was attended by about 200 delegates from India USA, Canada, and the Middle East.
A 'Citation of Appreciation' was handed over to Dutta acknowledging his immense contribution, commitment, and dedication in the overall development of both the Upstream viz. exploration and production and Downstream viz. refining and marketing segments of the Oil Industry in India, particularly in the North-East.
The citation also recognized to his role in initiating the modernization of IOC's Digboi Refinery and launching AOD into LPG marketing which subsequently spread to every nook and corner of the North-East; providing the visionary leadership for building and successful commissioning of Numaligarh Refinery and reversing the declining trend in OIL's production and making it one of the best performing PSUs.
He possessed an inherent 'risk-taking capability and also took hard decisions, whenever required while maintaining the essential qualities of humility and courtesy. He was a humanitarian to the core and maintained the highest standard of honesty and integrity and always led by example.