Aim is to comply with Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission directive to cut costs

As the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) is trying to comply with the Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission (KSERC)’s directive to cut costs through staff redeployment, the berths provided to those on deputation from various departments are likely to thwart the efforts and impose additional financial burden.

Following the board’s demand for a steep power tariff hike to meet the rising cost on various fronts, the commission had given directions for a 30 per cent cut in employee cost so that the financial burden passed on to the consumers could be mitigated to some extent.

Board sources told The Hindu here that one of the proposals was a thorough redeployment of staff in those segments where networking has been completed.

Austerity measures

This suggestion was also mooted as part of the austerity measures recommended to reduce the gravity of the financial crisis being faced by the board.

ut this does not augur well with the current situation where a number of senior positions are being manned by officers on deputation from various institutions.

According to a modest estimate, the board is spending about Rs.20 lakh a month to meet the salary and other expenses of the officers on deputation.

All such posts can be filled using the board’s manpower without incurring any additional burden.

The boardhas its own qualified personnel who are capable of occupying the positions being held by those on deputation at present. This would have provided them more promotion possibilities too. At the same time, a number of employees will move out of the headquarters within a month as part of the redeployment initiative.

Much more than the setback to the redeployment initiative, if the board becomes top heavy, it is feared to run contrary to the efforts to bail it out of the financial crisis.

The board is currently spending about Rs.770 crore per month for power purchase to meet the domestic needs. The monthly loss has been pegged at Rs. 200 crore.

Charge arrears due

As per the board estimates, the power charge arrears due from State government departments alone have been pegged at Rs.868 crore. In addition to this amount was the dues from public sector undertakings and local self-government institutions. The board should take steps to end the system of having employees on deputation from other departments, the sources said.

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