The state government has been sleeping on crucial appointments in two power sector bodies for more than a year now. Many have warned that if the trend of delay in appointing top-rung functionaries continued, one of the two bodies, the Punjab electricity regulatory commission (PSERC), may even have to shut down.
The government has not filled any vacancy in PSERC, where the post of a member fell vacant on December 5, 2014. An advertisement was issued on November 13 last year, but even after a year the government has yet to finalise the selection.
In the Punjab state power corporation limited (PSPCL), things are worse. The terms of PSPCL directors -commercial, finance and distribution -expired between June and July 2014. All of them, however, were asked to continue.
The advertisement for new directors was issued 18 months ago. Many applied, but none was appointed.
Even the PSPCL’s CMD or chairman-cum-managing director, who was set to retire, was asked to continue till further orders in February this year. The post has not been advertised even now.
ALL OVER AGAIN
Sources told HT that the interview for the post of PSERC member and PSPCL directors were announced thrice but had to be postponed due to varied reasons.
And now, the sources added, the department was facing a tough time to get to fix interviews or re-advertise the posts as deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who also holds the power portfolio, was so busy on the political front to clear the files.
A section of engineers has demanded that the posts be re-advertised, saying many others had become eligible for the posts of PSPCL directors during the period of delay.
‘COULD STALL TARIFF’
Many say though the ad hoc arrangement in PSPCL may suit the government, it couldn’t ignore the PSERC, which was a statutory body. A retired power engineer Padamjit Singh said the present trend of delay in appointments would be disastrous in view of the PSERC chairperson and another member retiring in February 2016. “It will result in shutting down of PSERC and stalling the tariff of 2016-17,” he said.
The government issued an advertisement for these two posts two months ago, but later extended the last date for submission of applications to December 9.
The Punjab and Haryana high court has already issued a notice to the Punjab government on a public interest litigation over delay in the appointment of PSERC member. The government has been asked to reply by January 15.
Despite several attempts secretary of the power department, A Venu Parshad, could not be contacted for comments.