With the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) management failing to augment power generation in the state in the past six years, power engineers have accused the management of playing into the hands of private companies.
The PSEB Engineers Association on Saturday said the management's inclination towards private players in power generation was affecting the state in the long run. The PSPCL management was suffering from policy paralysis and was shying away from taking right and proactive decisions, the association added.
Association president Baldev Singh, who presided over a meeting of power engineers here, said, "Despite the repeated warnings by the association, the entire generation capacity addition programme in the state was given in private hands. And the results are there for everyone to see. None of the three upcoming thermal plants is expected as per the target commissioning schedule. Moreover, the cost of power due to the inadequate indigenous coal supply is highly uncertain for which private developers are solely responsible."
He said the state government, realising the arguments of the association, in October 2011 had given the go-ahead to the PSPCL to construct a 1,320 MW thermal plant under the state sector. "But the PSPCL management has failed to execute the critical project with the seriousness it deserves and is adopting a go-slow approach. "Had the state planned one or two thermal plants under the state sector along with the private plants, the situation in the state would have been comfortable," he claimed.
The association president said the association had been raising the issue for years with the Punjab government and the management that outsourcing of core business activities was harmful in the long run. The new billing software awarded to SPANCO and handling of the coal issue were other failures of the management as it was showing a soft approach towards the company due to its vested interests, he claimed.
The association has decided to resume its agitation from next week; the agitation was suspended in March following assurance by the PSPCL management to settle the issues raised by the association in time. "From June 11, all power engineers of the state will wear black badges as a mark of protest. Later, we will hold protest rallies," said Sanjeev Sood, general secretary of the association.
He said, "It is ironic that at a time when the engineers are focused on providing round-the-clock power supply to the consumers during the paddy/summer season, the management has deliberately pushed them to a path of agitation."