Interests of employees recruited before 2010 to be fully protected
Step aimed at making power a self-sustaining sector
JAMMU, Sept 12: As a part of power sector reforms, the Governor’s Administ-ration has decided to complete unbundling of Power Development Department and Power Development Corporation before October 31, 2019 when the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh would be formally established. However, contrary to the general perception there would not be any harm to the interests of the employees under new mechanism.
The decision about unbundling of the Power Development Department was taken in the year 2012 when the State Cabinet accorded sanction for the creation of four companies—-Jammu and Kashmir State Power Transmission Company Limited; Jammu and Kashmir State Power Trading Company; Jammu Power Distribution Company Limited and Kashmir Power Distribution Company Limited.
Though some steps were initiated to translate the decision of Cabinet into reality yet the exercise could not be taken to the logical conclusion during all these years because of one or the other reason.
Now, unbundling has become imperative in view of the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 enacted by the Parliament early last month whereby Jammu and Kashmir has been divided into two Union Territories with effect from October 31, 2019.
The Act lays thrust on apportionment of the assets and liabilities of the existing State of J&K immediately before the appointed day between the successor Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and successor Union Territory of Ladakh.
Article 85 of the Reorganization Act read: “The Central Government may by order, establish one or more Advisory Committees within a period of 90 days from the appointed day for the purposes of apportionment of assets, rights and liabilities of the companies and corporations constituted for the existing State of Jammu and Kashmir between Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh; issues relating to continuance of arrangements in regard to generation and supply of electric power and supply of water etc.
In compliance to these provisions of the Reorganization Act, the Governor’s Administration has set into motion an exercise to appoint a consultant to assist in reorganizing the Power Development Department and Power Development Corporation.
Stating that unbundling exercise will be completed before October 31, 2019, sources said that Government intends to reorganize the Power Development Department into three companies (PSUs)–Ladakh Power Distribution Company Limited for Union Territory of Ladakh, Jammu Power Distribution Company Limited and Kashmir Power Distribution Company for Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Only Ladakh Power Distribution Company Limited is to be incorporated as the rest two are already incorporated but are to be operationalized”, sources further said, adding the transmission and distribution activities in the territorial jurisdiction of Union Territory of Ladakh will be in the domain of Ladakh Power Distribution Company Limited and transmission and distribution activities in the territorial jurisdiction of Jammu Province will be in the domain of Jammu Power Distribution Company Limited and the transmission and distribution activities in the territorial jurisdiction of Kashmir Province will be in the domain of Kashmir Power Distribution Company Limited.
Moreover, Jammu and Kashmir State Power Trading Company is being reorganized into territorial jurisdiction of Union Territory of Ladakh and Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The commercial aspects, power purchase and SLDC in the territorial jurisdiction of UT of Ladakh will be the responsibility of Ladakh Power Distribution/Generation Company. The existing J&K State Power Trading Company will continue to function in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The Government even intends to reorganize J&K State Power Development Corporation Limited (JKSPDCL) into territorial jurisdiction of Union Territory of Ladakh and Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir”, they said, adding “all the operational, on-going, under-construction hydro projects, ongoing transmission line project and PMDP projects presently lying with JKSPDCL in the Ladakh province will be in the domain of Ladakh Power Development Company Limited and the existing J&K State Power Development Corporation Limited will continue to function in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir”.
When contacted, Commissioner/Secretary to Government, Power Development Department Hirdesh Kumar Singh said, “the unbundling exercise, which has become imperative as per the provisions of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, will be a major power sector reform”, adding “corporatization of power sector has already been done in rest of the country but in Jammu and Kashmir the same is pending since long”.
Stating that entire exercise will be completed before October 31, 2019, he said, “the step is aimed at making power a self-sustaining sector”. He, however, dubbed as unfounded the confusion being created among the employees of the Power Development Department about the fate of their services.
In response to a question, the Commissioner/Secretary said that employees who were recruited before 2010 (prior to launch of New Pension Scheme) would be on deputation to these companies and would continue to get all the benefits which they are getting at present.
Moreover, they would get all the retirement benefits even after serving in these companies as they will be considered as Government employees till attaining age of superannuation. However, the vacancies to be created in these companies following retirement of employees would be filled as per the rules of the companies.