Govt mulls PDD restructuring
Consultancy Engaged To Lay Roadmap For Privatization
SUMIT HAKHOO/ GREATER KASHMIR
Jammu, Feb 28: Having failed to tide-over the mounting infrastructural and resource crisis in the Power Development Department (PDD), the state government is mulling privatization of the maintenance of power infrastructure to in view of the manpower shortage.
According to sources, the government has hired services of a private consultant to prepare a roadmap for reorganization of PDD.
A senior officer said the government has already decided in principle to handover power distribution to private players after the failure of PDD to streamline its functioning.
“Manpower shortage in maintaining the infrastructure is major challenge for the government. The strength of workers in PDD is not sufficient nor the department has resources to engage more people”, said an official.
“Manpower shortage can be gauged by the fact that in 1981 there were only 4 power stations; which has increased to 44 till date. Similarly against 1200 receiving stations, 30 years ago, today the state has 3400 such stations and their functioning and upkeep is dependent on 5000 daily wage laborers,” sources said.
“Privatization is the only solution to clear the mess. For the purpose the government has engaged consultancy to present a detailed report to suggest ways”, officials said.
Official sources said with massive augmentation of power infrastructure during past few decades, the department with the present strength of workers, is unable to run the show. “At places where five people are required, only two are available”, he added.
PDD has the staff strength of nearly 32000, but most of the maintenance work is dependent on daily wagers. “Most of the critical areas are being looked after by daily wagers, who are getting just Rs 2,170 per month despite being the key work force to keep the electricity supply running in the state” the sources added.
It is pertinent to mention here that recently an IT firm Wipro Infotech had bagged a contract from Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Department (JKPDD) for computerization of the department under the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (R-APDRP).
The project’s focus is to reduce aggregate technical and commercial losses in power distribution and management across State utilities.