For a state that has about 150 engineering colleges with nearly 40,000 seats, Punjab's two power corporations are finding it hard to recruit 700-odd engineers due to lack of quality candidates.
Of the 608 technical posts advertised, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has managed to fill only 73, underlining the poor standard of technical education in the state that produces about 30,000 engineers every year.
In all, around 27,000 candidates appeared in the written test, of which only 403 achieved the qualification cut-off of 50% marks. Overall, about 300 were recruited against 1,450 technical and non-technical posts.
"We have re-advertised the posts as we managed to fill only 30% of them. We have not changed the selection criterion because we don't want to pick below-par candidates," said HS Seth, director, human resources, PSPCL.
No candidate was selected for posts such as junior engineer (civil), safety officer and supervisor, instrumentation. For these posts, diploma in electrical engineering was the prerequisite. For the posts of assistant engineer (AE), for which bachelor of engineering was the minimum qualification, only three candidates were shortlisted against 290 posts. Only one candidate was shortlisted against 13 posts of assistant engineer (civil).
The Punjab State Transmission Corporation Limited (PSTCL) has managed to fill only 13% of the advertised posts. For 117 posts of AE (electrical), only 15 cleared the written test.
"We have re-advertised the posts and are hoping to get suitable candidates. This time, we have made final-year students eligible for the tests," said KD Chaudhry, PSPCL chairman-cum-managing director.
Pardeep Sharma, a private job consultant, said Punjab produced thousands of engineers every year, but the standard of education was poor. Most of the best students are selected by private companies on hefty packages during campus placements. It's mostly mediocre candidates who apply for government jobs."
Commenting on the issue, Punjab technical education minister Anil Joshi said, "Most of the private engineering colleges are out to make money. They are not bothered about quality education. We will look into the matter and suggest remedial measures."
Despite repeated attempts, Dr Rajneesh Arora, vice-chancellor, Punjab Technical University, the institution governing technical education in the state, could not be contacted.