Punjab seeks six months more for PSEB unbundling

Chandigarh, Feb 25 | Updated: Feb 26 2008, 07:57am hrs
The Punjab government has sought another six months from the Centre for corporatisation of Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), saying the process has been delayed due to lack of consensus among stakeholders.

"We have sought an extension of another six months for the unbundling of PSEB as the consensus among stakeholders on this issue has not reached yet," power secretary Suresh Kumar said.

This is the eighth time the state has sought an extension. At the last instance, the Centre had given time till February 29, 2008 to complete the process as part of the power sector reforms.

However, the exercise has not made any headway due to stiff opposition from employees of the PSEB, industry watchers said. They added, "The issue even forced the previous state government led by Amarinder Singh to seek several extensions from the government during his regime for not unbundling PSEB."

Questioning the intentions of the state government behind power reforms process, PSEB Engineers' Association, president, HS Bedi said, "Breaking PSEB into three divisions (generation, transmission and distribution entities) will not yield efficiency in service and financial improvement in the board unless the political intervention in routine functioning of the board is eliminated."

Bedi said political interference in day- today functioning and appointment of non-professionals to run the board has resulted in poor financial health and inefficient operation of the state electricity utility.

Moreover, it has been propagated that the separation of generation, transmission and distribution is mandatory which is not right. "Whereas the government could float a single trading company, which would be engaged into purchase or sale of power and other functions such as transmission, generation and distribution could be rest with the board," he said.