Failure on part of the UT electricity department to fill 10 posts of engineers through Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) in the past 10 years seems to have taken a toll on its efficiency.
There are a total of 23 sanctioned posts of engineer in the electricity department, of which, as per norms, 57% recruitment is to be done direct through the UPSC while 43% of seats are reserved for promotees.
The last direct recruitment was done in 2003 when three engineers were hired on the post of assistant engineer (AE). Prior to that recruitment though the UPSC was done in 1991 when three engineers joined as AE.
With shortage of engineers, the department has been forced to hand over additional charge of engineers to junior engineers (JE’s). “The efficiency level is bound to come down when juniors are made to discharge duties of engineers,” an official said.
Giving reasons for the failure to get the posts filled, UT superintending engineer MP Singh said the UPSC stopped direct recruitments as they were following the Punjab State Electricity Board Service rules and did not have their own rules.
Singh further accepted that non-availability of 10 engineers was affecting the output of the department.
After struggling for years, the department last year managed to frame its own service rules and submitted the same to the ministry of home affairs (MHA), but is still waiting for clearance.
When contacted, UT finance secretary VK Singh said they have again taken up the issue with the UPSC. “As desired by the UPSC, we have framed service rules for electricity employees, but they are yet to get approval.”
Besides that, the department is also grappling with the shortage of other staff members. As per official records, the department has witnessed a depletion of staff strength by 33% from 2001 to 2013. There were a total of 1,540 employees in the department in 2001. At present, there are 1,040 employees working at different levels in the department.
On the request of the department, joint electricity regulatory commission (JERC) had last year approved recruitment of 207 employees. However, the department only made three fresh recruitments.
UT Powermen Union general secretary Gopal Dutt Joshi criticised the department for promoting ad hocism, which had impaired its functioning.
“There are a large number of vacant posts in the department. Efforts should be made to fill them at the earliest," Joshi added.