Punjab State Electricity Board Engineers Association(PSEBEA) faces severe criticism from its members for their support for unbundling PSEB without any additional benefits for Engineering fraternity as claimed. The notification issued by Punjab Government regarding the structure of newly unbundled companies Transco and Powercom has left PSEB Engineers Association high and dry. Their posts at the decision making level has been reduced as compared to their positions in erstwhile PSEB.
Punjab Government’s notification no. 239 of April 16 regarding two companies ensures only one post of Director (Technical) to PSEB Engineers out of five posts of CMD and Directors of Transco and two posts of Directors of Generation and Distribution out of nine posts of CMD and Directors of Powercom. Thus out of 14 positions of CMD and Directors which is double of PSEB management seats, PSEB engineers are ensured of only three positions, balance going to non engineers including the IAS.
In erstwhile PSEB, out of six full time positions, four positions of Chairman and three technical members were headed by PSEB Engineers, the position of Administrative Member and Member Finance were with a politician and an IAS, the seventh was Principle Secretary Finance of Punjab Government as part time Member. There was only one full time IAS Member in erstwhile PSEB.
Unbundling of PSEB without any problem has been completed by Chief Minister Punjab with the active support of PSEB Engineers Association (PSEBEA). According to sources, Chief Minister was in touch with PSEB Engineers’ Association for the last many months and they were assured that their interest will be protected and that the major share in their top management cadre in new companies will be allocated to PSEB Engineers. Hence, PSEBEA offered full support to unbundling despite protests from majority of their members.
It may be mentioned that during the 48 hours strike call given by PSEB employee unions, engineers not only kept the thermal plants of Punjab working at their full capacity but also took care of whole of transmission and distribution system by working 48 hours at a stretch as per the strict instruction of PSEBEA. According to sources, while engineers were trying to defeat the strike, the Punjab government came up with a structure whereby the PSEB Engineers have been thrown into a minority in both the companies.
Another interesting feature is that Power Secretary is on the selection panel headed by the Chief Secretary who will select the CMDs of Transco and Powercom and later work as Director under the same CMD who will be selected by him. An advertisement in this regard is expected shortly.
PSEBEA feel that the term of interim Management Committee headed by an IAS officer which is six weeks may be extended till end of paddy season as selection process may take more time.‘With PSEB Engineers licking their wounds given by the underhand means by Punjab government, the industrial peace in power sector appears to be fragile’ said a senior leader of PSEB Engineers Association (PSEBEA) who refused to be identified.