Poor salary and heavy workload has forced at least 16 Junior Engineers to resign from Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) despite their recruitment coming at the end of a year-long legal battle. While 16 JEs have already put in their papers within six months of their appointment, some more resignations are in the pipeline.
PSPCL, which has acute shortage of staff, has been working with almost 50 per cent of sanctioned staff. A process of appointing 506 JEs by it was started in 2015, and finally ended in December 2016 after Punjab and Haryana High Court quashed a challenge to them by existing staffers. Around 450 JEs were recruited in that process.
But now poor salary structure has put that attempt to plug the staff shortage in fix.
A newly-appointed JE, who has already resigned, said that most of those who recently took up the job are highly qualified engineers, and very few are diploma holders. He added that PSPCL was only paying them a fixed amount of Rs 9850 with no other perks and incentives.
“This salary will continue for three years after joining which is highly insufficient for the post like JE, which involves a lot of field work and commute by personal vehicles, and also use of own mobile phone…And then there is no re-reimbursement,” he said, adding that even linemen withdraw 7-8 times more salary than them.
“We have no fixed working hours due to faults and tripping cases…we are called any time, at any hour and even sometimes work 24 hours continuously due to staff crunch and that for a salary that can’t buy us basic necessities,” said another JE, who plans to resign soon.
In 2010, Punjab State Electricity Board was unbundled into POWERCOM and PSPCL. At that time, PSPCL had 2700 staff members working in 2010 against the sanctioned over 4000 posts, which has come down to 1950 posts currently. In the same period, the transmission lines’ length have increased from 7400 km to 12,000 km and sub-stations’ number has gone up to 170 from 128.
Adviser to Council of JEs, Punjab, Jawant Rai said that nearly 90 per cent of the newly appointed JEs were highly qualified compared to the desired qualification for the post, and they were finding the work too much due to staff crunch, and the remuneration too less.
He said while they were going from one place to the other to get the things repaired using their own vehicles, PSPCL was not even paying them the conveyance allowance.
He added that the corporation must revise rules to retain such well qualified and hardworking staff and at least they should be at par with their subordinates.
“Many of them are even forced to do this underpaid job due to high rate of unemployment in the state,” he added.