In a move aimed at killing two birds with one stone, the Captain Amarinder Singh government on Monday amended rules to shunt out incumbent chairman-cum-managing director of the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) KD Chaudhary, a blue-eyed officer of the previous Parkash Singh Badal government, and open up the plum post for principal secretary-rank IAS officers.
The decision was taken by the state cabinet in its second meeting on Monday. According to the new rules, the PSPCL CMD could now also be an IAS officer, in the rank of principal secretary or above, having prior experience of working in the power sector.
The post was earlier only open for technocrats and, according to government sources, was “tailor-made” to fit in Chaudhary with the stipulation of one-year experience as “board director” of a power utility.
This condition has now been done away with and streams of civil engineering, electronics and communication engineering, instrumentation engineering and information technology have been added to the list of existing educational qualifications. The experience of Central Electricity Authority (CEA) would also be considered for the post of CMD.
The PSEB Engineers’ Association was earlier opposed to the move of making technocrats compete with IAS officers but later agreed to having principal secretary and above rank officers to broad-base the criterion and delete that of one-year experience as board director of a power utility. The maximum age for the CMD would remain to be 60 years.
The government attributed the move to Punjab’s new status as a power-surplus state. “In the previous criteria, only technocrats were considered. We have now broadened it as Punjab has moved from power generation to management of surplus power,” principal secretary, power, A Venu Prasad said.
The corridors of power, however, remained abuzz with speculations that the criteria have now been tailor-made to adjust a “blue-eyed” officer of the new dispensation at the plum post
“We welcome the move as Chaudhary was behaving like a halqa in-charge by patronising corruption and promoting favourites. It was affecting the corporation’s work culture and demoralising the honest. We thank the CM for agreeing to our demand and the incumbent CMD should be removed without further delay and a probe ordered into the irregularities committed during his tenure. Now chief engineers who do not have experience as board director can also be appointed,” said Baldev Singh, PSEB Engineers’ Association chief.