Srinagar: Authorities of the State Power Development department have dispelled rumours of any privatisation of the power sector in Jammu and Kashmir.
For the last fortnight, employees of the state power development department have been agitating against privatisation. The agitation is fuelled by fear that once privatised, service benefits and service protection of the serving employees would be compromised.
Speaking to IANS, Qazi Hashmat, Chief Engineer, Maintenance and Rural Electrification, said: "The rumours of privatisation are completely unfounded. There is no plan to privatise the department.
"The government proposes to unbundle the department to break it into four profit-oriented companies.
"These would include electric power generation (Genco), power distribution Jammu (Discom Jammu), power distribution valley (Discom Valley) and the power buying and selling company (Trade Co). All these would be completely state-owned companies.
"Ofcourse these companies would be profit-oriented while they will protect the service benefits of the present employees that includes the chief engineer down to the level of our lineman.
"All the presently serving employees/officers would continue to be government servants while they serve these state owned companies on deputation," the Chief Engineer said.
Squashing fears of the employees losing their service benefits, the Chief Engineer said, "Instead of losing any of their present benefits the profit-oriented companies would work out better working conditions and benefits for their staffs".
He said after these four state-owned companies come into existence after the complete unbundling of the power development department, future employments would be made by the companies and those engaged thereafter would be employees of these companies.
"It will take many years before these companies can employ their own staff. Till that time, all of us serving the department presently would continue to be government servants on deputation.
"A big advantage after these companies come into existence is that we can check power pilferage, fix tariffs and supply uninterrupted power without any political interference. The Trade Co can decide to buy power at peak hours without any official red-tapism involved", the Chief Engineer said.