GUWAHATI, Nov 24 - Power engineers of the State are aggrieved over the recurring decisions of the Government in favour of appointing non-technical persons as the managing directors (MDs) of the State’s power utilities.
The power engineers maintain that the posts of MDs of the power utilities are meant for highly-experienced power engineers. In other States of the country, the Governments fill up these posts with power engineers who possess track records of wide-ranging experiences and skill.
Again, the tripartite agreement, signed by the Assam Government, the erstwhile ASEB and the ASEB employees’ unions and associations, specifically stated that each of the State’s power utilities should be headed by qualified and experienced professionals.
But, here the State Government has been encouraging the practice of appointing non-technical persons to fill up the vacancies against such posts, going against the set rules and regulations and the above clause of the tripartite agreement meant for appointing the MDs in the power utilities, allege the power engineers.
A few months back, two officers belonging to the accounts service were appointed as the MDs of the Assam Electricity Grid Corporation Ltd (AEGCL) and the Assam Power Generation Corporation Ltd (APGCL).
To facilitate their appointment, the upper age limit for the applicants was fixed at 57. Being general managers was made another qualification for the eligibility of the applicants for those posts. Not a single serving engineer of the State’s power utilities could fulfill those conditions and hence none of them could apply for the posts.
The power engineers view it as a deliberate attempt at depriving the senior serving power engineers of the power utilities of the scope to apply for the above posts, let alone any of them being selected for any of these posts.
However, the power engineers maintain that the advertisement issued on February 4, 2017, inviting applications for the posts had made it mandatory for the candidates to have a proven track record of performance in design, planning, project implementation and administrative function for a minimum period of 20 years. It perhaps needs no mention that design, planning and project implementation are all technical functions.
The appointment order of the MDs of the AEGCL and the APGCL were issued by the Secretary to the Government of Assam, Power (Electricity) Department on June 30, 2017, said the power engineers.
Earlier, they said, the State Government had in July, 2016 appointed a non-technical official to fill up the post of MD of the Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd (APDCL). Then, in the early part of the current year, another such official replaced him as the APDCL MD.
The crucial post of the Director Technical of the APDCL, which can be hold only by a highly experienced power engineer, has been kept vacant since July, 2016.
Moreover, the Assam Electricity Regulatory Commission has no power engineer as its member. In this connection, the power engineers refer to Section 4(1) (a) of The Electricity Regulatory Commissions Act, 1998 of the country.
This section of the said Act has stated, “One person having qualification and experience in the field of engineering with specialisation in generation, transmission or distribution of electricity” should be appointed as one of the members of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission.
This provision of the 1998 legislation is applicable in the case of State Electricity Commissions too, said the power engineers.