Patiala:The Union Ministry of Power has failed to appoint a full-time Chairman of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) lying vacant since September 24, 2015. At present, the charge of the post of Chairman is being handled by Member (Irrigation) Surinder Kumar Sharma, former Chief Engineer (Irrigation) Haryana.
As per Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966 the Chairman and the members of the BBMB are to be appointed by the Appointments Committee of the Union Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister.
As per official information, the Centre on September 21, last year, issued a circular to all the competent departments of the Union Government and the states to apply for the post of the Chairman. A total of 25 engineers applied. The last date fixed for receiving applications was October 14, last year. On November 22, an interview was conducted but till date no one was appointed as the Chairman.
Member Irrigation (BBMB) Surinder Sharma who also holds the charge of the post of Chairman was to retire from the Haryana government service on January 31, this year, at the age of 58 years. The BBMB Chairman and members can continue in service up to the age of 60 years.
In a surprising move, the Haryana government granted extension in service to Sharma till January 31, 2018 saying that Sharma can possibly get selected as the Chairman of the BBMB who can serve up to the age of 60 years, hence he is given an extension of one year in service. The extension in service has been made to be co-terminus with his selection as Chairman of the BBMB, whichever is earlier.
The All India Power Engineers Federation, patron Padamjit Singh said, “Haryana, in a covert manner, is staking its claim to the post of the Chairman which is not acceptable.”
He said that none of the member states in the BBMB could presume a stake to the post of the Chairman, who was to be selected by the Union Ministry of Power.
He said that since Punjab and Haryana were entangled in a controversy over sharing of river waters, the post of Chairman should not be given to Haryana. It was in the interest of justice to appoint the Chairman belonging to any other state. The release of waters to partner states is done by the Chairman of the BBMB.