Power logjam ends

Jammu lights up again; Midnight deal proposes committee on JKPTCL-PGCIL Joint Venture
Power logjam ends
The indefinite strike of power employees lasted three days much to the inconvenience of people as many localities reeled under darkness throughout this period while few areas were still facing ‘blackout.’Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

Jammu: Electricity supply to almost the entire Jammu province was restored on Tuesday after the protesting power employees and the government struck a negotiating midnight deal.

In the spirit of the agreement reached, the protesting employees under the aegis of All Jammu and Kashmir Power Employees and Engineers Coordination Committee (JKPEECC) called off their indefinite protest immediately. They resumed electricity restoration work as soon as the draft deal was inked at 12.10 am on Saturday.

The indefinite strike of power employees lasted three days much to the inconvenience of people as many localities reeled under darkness throughout this period while few areas were still facing ‘blackout.’

Though the power employees claimed that 100 per cent power was restored across Jammu province yet there were certain localities where it could not be restored even on the fourth day today due to “technical snags crept in during work boycott period.”

“In Jammu province, the (power) situation is back to normal. Power was restored in the morning itself,” Sachin Tickoo, convener JKPEECC told Greater Kashmir.

With regard to localities still reeling under darkness, he said, “See what happens, the feeders have remained off for a few days. So due to overloading and tripping, this problem is there. They are getting supply and it gets tripped up to some time. It’s not like the earlier situation where the system was totally under shutdown. Tripping is happening as usually it happens even during normal days in the case of overloading in grids."

"Even if in some cases, intermittent faults are there, which usually also happen and they are being attended to. That is a routine process. We have been working for the last 12 hours. Immediately after 12.00 am after signing the agreement, our people resumed the work at midnight,” Tickoo maintained.

Are the employees satisfied with the deal clinched as the government has stuck to its earlier stance with regard to employees’ second major demand related to disbursal of salaries through treasuries?

Tickoo’s response to this query was affirmative. “Yes, see our issue has broadly been addressed as the government has assured timely disbursal of salary and its (salary’s) continuity component has also been assured. Besides they have also agreed to create more Chief Pay & Account Officers in every district so that’s a very satisfying development for us,” he said.

Earlier on Saturday, JKPEECC called off its strike with immediate effect after the government offered them point-by-point assurances to its four demands, addressing all its concerns.

The government spokesperson pointed out that as per letter number PECC/J/257-259 dated December 14, 2021, a 4-point demand representation was made by All J&K Power Employees and Engineers Coordination Committee (JKPEECC), multiple rounds of negotiations were conducted between the UT government represented by Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Mukesh Singh, Divisional Commissioner Dr Raghav Langer and MD-JPDCL Shiv Anant Tayal and the representatives of component unions of JKPEECC led by Sachin Tickoo and Jaipal Sharma.

As per the agreement document, the government, in response to the demand to shelve the proposal for formation of the Joint Venture (JV) company by JKPTCL WITH PGCIL, has maintained that it has been decided that the said proposal will be put on hold. “A committee comprising all stakeholders including JKPEECC would make recommendations on the way forward,” the government has stated.

With regard to second demand of employees to “table a white paper on unbundling and reasons for non-implementation of the recommendations of the unbundling committee constituted by the government to streamline the Corporations vis-a-vis the creations of different positions in the corporations”, the government has reiterated its earlier stance.

“It was agreed that the government order number 191-PDD of 2019 dated October 23, 2019 especially clause D (m) that “the interests of serving employees of JKPDD, JKSPDCL and JKSPTCL shall be protected and shall not be varied to their disadvantages in terms of service benefits” would be implemented in letter and spirit,” the government has mentioned in the agreement.

Elaborating it further, the government has assured that the “regularisation of engineers as implied by the government order of October 23, 2019 shall be honoured in spirit and completed in time bound manner.”

In this context, it has also been agreed that the DPC of Tech-III cadre shall be addressed on priority in a time bound manner. Similarly, the issue of regularisation of PDL/TDL would be addressed in a time bound manner as per Recruitment Rules and DPCs conducted by JPDCL/KPDCL since 2019 till date. The salary of the employees would be disbursed timely and delays would be eliminated, the government assured.

Third demand listed was related to delinking of the salary of the employees on deputation to the existing corporations from ‘Grant-in-aid’ and seeking release of “regular budget as it exists for similar class of other government employees working in other (government) departments.”

On this account, the government has maintained that after detailed deliberations, it was agreed that salary would be paid in time every month.

“Necessary prerequisites shall be completed well in time before the first of every month. The salary component of the grant in aid in respect of the employees of JKPDD on deputation to these corporations is being reassured in terms of their deputation order. Meanwhile, to address the delays in the procedural mechanism of disbursement of salaries/wages out of grant-in-aid, creation of CP&AOs/P&AOs (Chief Pay & Accounts Officers/Pay & Accounts Officers) in all districts of J&K was decided. Besides the funds along with advance drawal sanction is being made already on time,” the government assured.

However, in order to avoid delays, the government further offered that the Executive Engineer (Disbursing Officers) would present the bills to P&AOs by the 25th of every month. “The time schedule for disbursement of salary or wages shall be the same as in respect of other government employees,” it assured.

Responding to the demand of “white paper on JKPDD on employees on deputation to CVPPL”, the government agreed that a committee would be constituted to ensure that the “interests of the JKPDD employees on deputation are not at any disadvantage.”

“On these assurances, the JKPEECC has called off its strike with immediate effect. Work to resume immediately,” wrote MD-JPDCL Shiv Anant Tayal IAS while signing the successful negotiating deal clinched, after multiple rounds of talks, at midnight at 12:10 am. Other signatories to the agreement included M S Malik Director Finance JKPDD, JKPEECC convener Sachin Tickoo and chairman Jai Pal Sharma besides Divisional Commissioner Jammu.

Prior to this agreement, on Sunday evening, the government had deployed specialised teams of Military Engineering Services (MES) on a number of power receiving stations across the Jammu zone to restore essential services. Army and police personnel were also deployed in adequate numbers to prevent any attempt to create hindrance in the restoration measures.

Greater Kashmir