THE MORE things change, the more they remain the same. This seems to be true of the State’s power sector.
For all practical purposes, the structure of the State’s power sector remains the same, even after six years the ‘unwieldy’ UP State Electricity Board (UPSEB) was unbundled into three ‘autonomous and efficient’ corporations. The step was taken in the name of power reforms. The three corporations are neither autonomous nor efficient. There is hardly an improvement on any front. The number of hours of supply has gone down. Transmission and distribution losses have gone up. Revenue collection has dipped. And the gap between expenditure and revenue has widened.
Three or four top officers are controlling the three corporations and the four power distributions companies set up around three years ago.
No wonder, the UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL), the UP Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd (UPRVUNL) and the UP Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd (UPJVNL) are adopting the same administrative rules and policies. So, principal secretary (Energy) AK Khurana is the chairman of the UPPCL, the thermal power and the hydropower corporations.
By virtue of being the UPPCL chairman, he is also chairman of all the four distribution companies, which are yet to get their own board of directors.
Another bureaucrat Avnish Awasthi is the UPPCL managing director. He also holds additional charge of the Utpadan Nigam MD.
SK Agrawal is managing the finances not only of the UPPCL, as its director (Finance), but also of all other corporations and discoms. The UPPCL, the Utpadan Nigam, the Jal Vidyut Nigam, and the four discoms all have one thing in common. It’s their director (Finance). He looks after many other wings, too.
There has been no CMD in the Utpadan Nigam since June 2005, no director (Technical) since March 2006, no director (Personnel) since June 2006 and no director (Finance) since October 2005.
Likewise, the Jal Vidyut Utpadan Nigam has been doing without a chairman for the last four years. It has had no MD for a long time. Not even additional charge has been given to anybody. There has been no director (Finance) there for the last three-four years.
A senior officer posted in the Jal Vidyut Nigam said he and his colleagues had not seen the chairman for months, as “he is too busy to spare time”. “We find it difficult to meet even director (Finance) SK Agrawal,” he said. Though the Jal Vidyut Nigam was set up as an autonomous corporation in January 2000, it could not take any decision of its own. “The unbundling of the UPSEB has hardly made any structural changes. It was nothing but a joke played on the people in the name of power reforms,” he observed.