Akali ‘jathedars’ appointed as chairpersons of electricity disputes settlement committees in some districts are demanding four-wheelers to move around for redressal of consumers’ grievances.
Much reluctant to dole out, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) moved the request to Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) on September 20 for permission.
The demand had come from chairman of Muktsar disputes settlement committee Navtej Singh Kauni. The state government had appointed two other chairpersons — Pramod Chopra in Jalandhar and Ravinder Singh Rummi Dhillon in Barnala. Chopra and Dhillon also want vehicles.
After the demand came from Kauni, PSPCL director (distribution) KL Sharma forwarded the matter to the management, making grounds to seek permission from the PSERC. At the time of appointment of chairpersons in May this year, the PSERC had ruled that no TA/DA shall be given to them.
Sources said power secretary P Venuprasad had turned down the request for vehicles to the district-level chairpersons. “It will set a wrong precedence. The chairpersons were appointed by twisting the norms and, now, they are demanding which they are not entitled to,” said a senior PSPCL officer. He said if PSPCL accepted this demand, there will be no end to the largesse and the burden ultimately would fall on the consumers.
A section of the PSPCL officers also feel that these appointments could politicise the disputes settlement mechanism. The state government, as PSPCL sources revealed, was in the process of finalising chairpersons for other districts.
Deputy commissioners concerned will appoint a member and the chairperson. The committee will also have nominees from PSPCL — a superintending engineer, a executive engineer and an officer from the accounts department. In May, using powers under Section 108 of the Electricity Act 2003, the state government had recommended forming such committees.