SRINAGAR: JK Power Employees and Engineers Coordination Committee, an amalgam of power development department (PDD) employees, on Sunday threatened state-wide agitation if the government does not give up the work on unbundling of PDD into a state run company.
This reaction from the committee has come after the government issued an SRO for unbundling of PDD. The employees were unconvinced even after the government assured to protect the employee’s interest after they will be subsumed into the company.
“The government order is a hoax,” Maqbool Ahmad, a leader of the amalgam told reporters. “They (authorities) have issued orders for protection of our interests, but they remain on papers only.”
Maqbool cited an example of SPDC, a government run company for generation of power, where employees are still not getting benefits of the government employees despite an order issued by secretary.
“We have seen the effect of these orders in the past, we know what it means,” he added.
In September last month, government had cleared much awaited bottleneck in the process of turning one division of the Power Development Department (PDD) into a new government-run company, Tradeco. The bottleneck had come from PDD engineers who were reluctant to move into the new company because it was taking away perks that they were getting in PDD. Now the J&K government has accepted their demands. Though the top engineers have maintained the silence, a lower rung of employees got agitated, despite government had agreed in the written order that he rights of the employees will be fully protected and they would be fully governed by JK Service Rules including SRO 381 of 1981 and would be on deputation basis to Tradeco which would be restricted to 100 employees at present.
The unbundling of PDD into four companies – Jammu & Kashmir State Power Transmission Company Limited (SPTCL), State Power Trading Company Limited (Tradeco), Distribution Company Limited, and Kashmir Power Distribution Company Limited – was proposed in 2012 by the Omar Abdullah-led government. In the Mehbooba Mufti-led government that followed, finance minister Haseeb Drabu assured in one of his budget speeches that the government would unbundle the department “without prejudicing the service conditions of any of the employees.”
The unbundling is believed to remove the corruption, bring transparency and accountability, increase revenue, and minimise losses. However for Maqbool, it will just add to the burden on common people as electricity tariff will go up.
Asked the additional money will be charged for the extra use of energy by a consumer, Maqbool said: “I am concerned about people, and they will suffer.”