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Punjab power engineers demand two super critical thermal power plants in the state
PSEB Engineers Association has stressed for long term power planning in Punjab and has demanded setting up of two super critical thermal plants in state sector.
Baldev Singh in his presidential address at the General Body Meeting held on Sunday at Patiala stressed that at least two new super critical thermal plants must be set up in a phased manner in order to ensure adequate share of state sector generation.

He cautioned that the state's share in the generation capacity which was around 55 per cent around a decade back has been reduced to 30 per cent and shall further fall below 20 per cent in next five years, which shall dilute state control for optimum grid operation. Punjab has been allotted dedicated coal mine and there would be no problem regarding coal supply for state sector plants.

Another challenge before the state is to tackle surplus power. "We may have to pay approximately Rs. 2500 crore as fixed charges during the year to private generating plants without getting any power from them. Had this power been consumed or sold, it would have helped to reduce the cost of supply. The increasing share of the private sector generation is raising the cost of power due to increasing liability of fixed charges," said Baldev Singh.

He also highlighted the pitfalls in the amendments being proposed by Government of India in the Electricity Act 2003 in the name of bringing competition in the power sector. The amendment has proposed to further unbundle the distribution company into a Wire Company (carrier business) which will look after the distribution network and multiple Supply Companies to sell electricity to consumers (content business). There is serious overlapping of responsibilities and consumer shall have to deal with both Distribution and Supply Company.

The General body in a resolution has appealed to all Members of Parliament and the State Governments to impress upon the Central Government not to rush through this very important piece of legislation without extensive public consultations with all the stakeholders.

The General Body meeting of the PSEB Engineers' Association was held here on Sunday and was attended by over 650 engineers and also delegates of All India Power Engineers Federation and Northern India Power Engineers Federation. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa was the Chief Guest and S. Surjit Singh Rakhra was the Guest of Honour.

Association also urged the state government to implement the tripartite agreement in letter and spirit. President said that Association is committed to protect the TPA and will use all methods at its disposal to ensure compliance of all clauses of this Agreement.

The existing differential in the pay scales of power engineers vis-vis their Punjab Government counterparts should be maintained and the start of Assistant Engineer for new recruits should be same as has been granted to in-service engineers. The Association also demanded cadre review to tackle the problem of stagnation in the cadre.

Further, the Association stressed to stop the injudicious outsourcing of core business activities undermining the technical excellence of large pool of trained manpower in the power companies.

Shaliendar Dubey, Chairman AIPEF demanded that Electricity Bill 2014 should not be rushed in hurry and a mandatory audit of all private Discoms should be ordered.

K Ashok Rao Convener of National Confederation of officers Association of CPSU said that the future of electricity in the country will decide the future of country. The experimentation with vital sector of economy should not be allowed.

Padamjit Singh, Chief Patron, AIPEF said that the Bill 2014 is anti people and is to promote middle men. State has equal or more responsibility than the centre in case of power sector. Now Parliament is going to dictate the states against spirit of constitution.

(VK Gupta is spokesperson of All India Power Engineers Federation)

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