HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

Power engineers in Punjab to intensify stir against state govt

PTI  Chandigarh, May 12, 2014
First Published: 19:32 IST(12/5/2014) | Last Updated: 19:33 IST(12/5/2014)

Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) engineers have decided to intensify their stir against the state government amid the power utility facing coal crisis.
"We will switch off our mobile phones on May 23 during working hours. And after June 10, all engineers of PSPCL will go on mass casual leave any day in protest against non-acceptance of our demands," Senior Vice-President, Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) Engineers' Association, Bhupinder Singh said today.
Singh said the intensification of agitation could have adverse impact on uninterrupted power supply to consumers in summer season and also ahead of paddy sowing season which starts from June 10.
Currently, protesters under the banner of PSEB Engineers' Association are holding 'work-to-rule' agitation whereby they do not work after working hours.
The association is protesting against the state government's move of raising the retirement age of CMD and Directors of PSPCL from 62 to 65, saying it is the violation of tripartite agreement signed at the time of unbundling of erstwhile PSEB in 2010. "It was against the concept of professionalism in power sector," Singh said.
He said the state had also failed in notifying the common recruitment and cadre of PSPCL and Punjab State Transmission Corporation Limited (PSTCL), adding that the issue of difference in pay scale of new engineers and old engineers had not been resolved yet.
Besides, engineers have also been demanding setting up of a 1,320 MW thermal power plant in state sector, rationalisation of work load of engineers, and bringing distribution reforms.
The association has also been demanding a meeting with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to resolve the pending issues. "But we are not given time by the CM to discuss our issues till date despite writing several times," he said.
The utility has already been grappling with the problem of gaps between demand and supply of power, primarily because of less power generation in its own power plants due to less coal supply by Panem coal mines, delay in commissioning of new power plants and reduced availability of power under banking arrangements.
PSPCL has now decided to purchase 5047 million units (MU) of short term power through competitive bidding in order to bridge gap between demand and supply during May till September.

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