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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Govt, power engineers at loggerheads over extension to PSPCL CMD

Vishal Rambani, Hindustan Times  Patiala, January 31, 2014
First Published: 21:34 IST(31/1/2014) | Last Updated: 21:35 IST(31/1/2014)

Power engineers have locked horns with the government over the  latter's proposal to change the required qualification and experience of chairman-cum-managing director (CMD)/directors of power companies to pave way for the extension of the term of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) CMD  KD Chaudhri.

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A meeting of the power engineers with senior IAS officers, including power secretary Anirudh Tiwari, remained inconclusive as the engineers opposed the move for any amendment in the existing agreement.
 
The Punjab government is inclined to continue with Chaudhri as PSPCL CMD, by extending the retirement age from 62 to 65 years and amending the tripartite agreement between the government, the erstwhile Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) and the employee unions and associations signed in year 2010, when the PSEB was bifurcated into two entities for distribution and transmission.
 
Chaudari is completing his term on February 9, when he attains age of 62 years. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is reportedly inclined to give him an extension in appreciation of his commendable work as CMD of PSPCL.
 
As per the fresh proposal, apart from raising the retirement age from 62 to 65, the government intends to include a provision to appoint an IAS officer as CMD/director or  chief executing officer to deal with the administrative work of PSPCL.
 
During the meeting, the power engineers, led by the PSEB Engineers Association president Baldev Singh, opposed the move and said that they would launch an agitation if government changed the agreement.  
 
"The proposal to change the retirement age of CMD was to accommodate the present incumbent and also to make IAS officers eligible for posts of CMD/ Directors. This is the gameplan of the bureaucracy to sideline the professionals in the power sector. Such proposals are a direct attack on the professionalism of the power sector which was the only condition on which the engineers supported the goverment at the time of unbundling of PSEB", said Baldev Singh.

"It is betrayal of the assurances given by the CM", he said while  announcing to launch an agitation the day government takes any decision.
 
Meanwhile, the Joint Forum of Employees and Council of Junior Engineers has neither opposed nor supported the move to extend Chaudhri's term However, they agreed with the proposal to appoint an IAS officer either as CEO or as director administration of PSPCL. They also demanded that the post of director (HR) should be filled by a non-techoncrat.
 
When contacted, power secretary Anirudh Tiwari said as directed by the Chief Minister, he has held the parleys with the employees and engineers.

As per the tripartite agreement, any modification in transfer scheme, memorandum of association, article of association, qualification and experience of CMDs and directors will be made after consultation and understanding with the signatories of the agreement. Thus, the government is consulting the all parties concerned. "I will convey the deliberations held in the meeting to the CM, who will take the final decision",  Tiwari added.

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