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Upendra Narain Rai, Principal General Manager (Electrical), BSNL

November 05, 2014
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Upendra Narain Rai, principal general manager (electrical), at Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), specialises in undertaking demanding assignments, be it the deployment of renewable energy technology (RET) solutions at remote tower sites or restoring passive infrastructure in disaster-stricken areas. In fact, some of his most memorable assignments are the ones that were accomplished efficiently in extremely challenging environments. These include providing and maintaining passive infrastructure in the north-eastern states and restoring infrastructure during natural disasters including the Leh cloud burst in 2010, the Phailin cyclone in Odisha in 2013 and the recent Jammu & Kashmir floods.

In his current capacity, Rai is involved in framing policies for the provision, roll-out and maintenance of BSNL’s passive infrastructure. He also handles matters relating to legal issues and human resources.

A significant part of Rai’s work is focused on RET deployment at telecom tower sites and the implementation of energy conservation measures. “This proves to be a challenging task when towers are located in difficult hilly terrain or in Left wing extremism-affected areas. Issues like non-availability of shade-free areas in rural regions and inadequate financial assistance from institutions often pose a hindrance in RET deployment,” says Rai.

Commenting on the state of the telecom industry in India, Rai says, “Voice services have almost saturated now in the telecom sector. Going forward, data and video services will show significant growth.”

Rai is an engineer by training. He graduated in electrical engineering from IIT Roorkee in 1977 and obtained a postgraduate diploma in control engineering and instrumentation from IIT Delhi in 1978. Thereafter, he joined the erstwhile P&T Building Works (Group A) Electrical Services of the Department of Telecommunications. Over the course of his career, Rai has worked in various capacities in BSNL in the northern, western, eastern and north-eastern regions. His management style is based on a practical approach combined with quick decision-making. He likes to take feedback from his colleagues and believes in his team, which has helped him carry out assignments efficiently.

Rai meditates regularly and practices yoga. In his spare time, he enjoys watching TV and socialising with friends and family. He lives in Delhi with his wife, Induja, who is an astrologer and a self-employed business woman. His twin sons are both married.

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