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Sunday, Dec 08, 2019

PSPCL staff continue protest in Patiala over non-payment of salaries

PSEB Engineers’ Association holds protest meets across state; say the state government not clearing subsidies and bills has resulted in non-disbursal of staff salaries

chandigarh Updated: Dec 04, 2019 22:15 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
PSEB Employees’ Joint Forum members protesting against the Punjab government in front of the PSPCL head office in Patiala on Wednesday.
PSEB Employees’ Joint Forum members protesting against the Punjab government in front of the PSPCL head office in Patiala on Wednesday.(BHARAT BHUSHAN/HT)

Employees of the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) continued their strike over non-payment of salaries on Wednesday. They raised slogans against the Punjab government for not releasing the subsidy money in lieu of free power provided to farmers by the PSPCL.

Protest meetings were held across Punjab by the members of PSEB Engineers’ Association over the financial crisis at the power corporation due to non-payment of subsidies and bills by the state government and non-disbursal of salaries to employees.

Sanjeev Sood, president of the association, said that this is unprecedented in the history of PSPCL and PSTCL, that the corporations are unable to pay salaries and pensions of their employees.

He added that despite acute shortage of staff, the engineers have been working beyond their prescribed duties in order to serve the consumers in state.

“However, all their efforts are negated when the company fails to pay monthly salaries in time. It is demotivating the employees,” he said.

The association criticised the PSPCL management for its failure to take proactive measures on the financial front and its failure to get a subsidy bill of around ₹6,000 crore reimbursed from the Punjab government.

“The state government has not only failed to fulfil its commitment to pay subsidy bills even though it is bound by the provisions of the tariff order and the provisions of the Electricity Act, but has also failed to review the costly power purchase agreements with private thermals that have been bleeding out the power corporation and leading to increase in electricity tariff for consumers in Punjab,” he said.

Sood added that Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) is not playing its role as envisaged in the Electricity Act by overlooking repeated default of non-payment of subsidies by government.

“The regulatory body has failed to direct the Punjab government to pay subsidies in advance since many years. The condition of power companies would not have been so bad if the regulators would have taken proactive action in the past,” he said.

He added that the employees will approach the regulatory body to stop subsidy, if the government fails to disburse it in time.

Meanwhile, PSPCL chairman-cum-managing director (CMD) Baldev Singh Sran said that due to financial crunch, they are releasing payments of salaries and pension to its serving and retired employees and officers in instalments.

“The first instalment of ₹26.27 crore was released to 12,913 employees on November 30. A sum of ₹69.77 crore as pension was released to 43,348 retired officials on December 2. On December 4, ₹50.51 crore was released to 13,142 employees as salaries,” he said.

The CMD added that payments of rest of the PSPCL employees and pensioners will be released by Thursday as the Punjab government has released ₹200 crore against the pending subsidies.