The state government will ensure that “all government departments soon switch to solar power” and clear their pending electricity dues as soon as possible, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said today.
Approximately 1,200 delegates from the state, ranging from assistant engineers to chief engineers, participated in a general body meeting of the PSEB Engineers Association held at the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala. The chief guest announced that the power sector would not be privatized.
According to the CM, all vacant posts in the power sector will be filled by regular employees.
The regular appointment of the Member (Power) will protect Punjab’s interests on the Bhakhra Beas Management Board. Government departments have been instructed to clear the corporation’s pending debts. He informed the engineers that PSPCL’s subsidy would be cleared in phases.
The recent directive of the Centre to blend coal with imported coal in view of the likely coal shortage in summer and the use of rail-sea-rail (RSR) to transport coal from Mahanadi and Talchar coalfields in Odisha to Punjab via Mundra in Gujarat will increase the cost by 20 percent. It has been conveyed to the Centre,” Mann said.
The paddy cost will escalate throughout the country if Punjab starts sending its paddy via Pakistan and other states. Hence, Punjab should have direct rail access to coal,” he said.
Mann said the government would launch a campaign against power theft.
The state exchequer suffers a huge loss every year due to the theft of power worth Rs 1,200 crore.
The president of the engineers’ association, Jasvir Singh Dhiman, spoke earlier at the event and welcomed the restart of the Pachwara coal mine.
With the mine running again, Punjab will get a direct benefit of Rs 600 crore a year, he said, adding that the state government should release the subsidy amount in advance; otherwise, there will be multiple consequences such as a rise in tariffs and a non-conversion of loans into grants.
Additionally, Harbhajan Singh, Chetan Singh Jouramajra, and Balbir Singh were present on the occasion, as were Tejveer Singh, Principal Secretary (Power), and Baldev Singh Sran, CEO of PSPCL. The event was also attended by Padamjit Singh, chairman and chief patron of the All India Power Engineers Federation, as well as Shailendra Dubey, chairman of the All India Power Engineers Federation.