The State government has issued a gazette notification transferring all employees, assets, and liabilities in the State power sector, which were vested with it, to Kerala State Electricity Board Limited (KSEB Ltd.), a corporate entity in the State public sector formed as stipulated by the Electricity Act of 2003 to replace the erstwhile Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB).
The notification was as per the decision taken by the Cabinet on October 30. The transfer of employees, assets, and liabilities of the erstwhile KSEB came into effect on October 31, as per the notification.
There would be three sub entities under the mother company, KSEB Ltd., one each responsible for generation of power, transmission of power, and distribution of power. The overall management will be the responsibility of the mother company. The notification said the terms and conditions of service for the employees would be the same as they had been under the KSEB. The sub entities under KSEB Ltd. could alter these on the basis of bilateral agreements with the employees.
The pension liabilities of the erstwhile KSEB had been assessed at the level of Rs.7,552 crore as on 2011. Of this amount, the government would contribute a sum of Rs.3,186 crore in instalments over a period of 10 years to the pension fund to be set up to honour the pension liabilities. The remaining sum would be the responsibility of KSEB Ltd.
The notification said that pension liabilities would be reassessed to update them up to October 2013, and the excess amount to be contributed to the pension fund would be shared by the government and KSEB Ltd. in the same proportion as above.
During each subsequent year, KSEB Ltd. would make an actual assessment of new pension liabilities and remit the amount in the pension fund to honour them. These matters would be made legally binding through a tripartite agreement between the government, KSEB Ltd. and employees’ unions.
According to the notification, the entities under KSEB Ltd. would have full powers to take their own “investment decisions” [which is not the same as ‘disinvestment decisions’ involved in allowing private participation]. The successor entities would have autonomy in decision making, but with the approval of the government.
Unions in the KSEB, reacting to the gazette notification, on Thursday expressed their protest over the government not consulting them on matters relating to salaries, service conditions, and pensions. KSEB Officers’ Association president B. Pradeep said the government should have brought clarity on such matters before issuing the notification.
President of the Kerala Electricity Workers’ Federation A.N. Rajan said the government had betrayed the KSEB employees by transferring the assets and liabilities of the institution to the new company without striking a tripartite agreement to dispel their concern over their salaries, service conditions, and pensions.