Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal's announcement to float a new company for the sale and purchase of electricity has not gone down well with power engineers of the state.
Opposing the state government's decision to form a new company for trading of power, PSEB Engineers' Association (PSEBEA) claimed that the CM had verbally assured them that there would be no further privatisation of power companies, during discussions on unbundling of Punjab State Electricity Board in 2010.
The engineers said that at present, PSPCL was responsible for procurement of power and arranging funds for its sale and purchase.
The association said it had opposed the creation of another company as there was already a PSPCL body - power purchase regulation (PPR) organisation - in place for sale and purchase of electricity.
PSEBEA said PPR organisation was headed by a chief engineer and manned by experienced engineers who had been performing the job for years.
PSEBEA saw the decision as a move that would "lead to backdoor entry of disgruntled elements and marginalise the existing set up of PSPCL."
Engineers also claimed that under the transfer scheme notified by the state government, PSPCL had to engage in the business of distribution, generation and trading. They said that under Clause 5 (g) of the tripartite agreement - signed between Punjab government, successor companies of PSEB, PSEB Engineers' Association and other trade unions, after unbundling of PSEB in April 2010 - any modification of transfer scheme and memorandum of articles of association would be made after consultation with the signatories of this agreement.
"So," PSEBEA general secretary Sanjeev Sood said, "the CM can't take such a decision. However, now in violation of the tripartite agreement and verbal assurances, Punjab government has decided to form a new company for power trading." Sood also urged for a meeting with the CM to discuss the issues.