Patiala: For the last 22 months the Punjab government could not find any suitable person to fill a vacancy in the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC).
An advertisement for the filling the post of a member in the PSERC was issued in November, 2014 after the retirement of incumbent member Virender Singh on December 5 that year. The Selection Committee sent its recommendation to Power Minister, who happend to be Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, on 25 January 2016 after 14 months. But CM ordered that a fresh advertisement be issued as this panel had become quite old.
Badal ordered on file to immediately complete the fresh selection process. So the previous selection exercise was scrapped and fresh advertisement was issued on 23 March 2016. Till date the Punjab had not been able to finalise the selection.
Padamjit Singh, a (retd) Chief Engineer of the Punjab State Power Commission limited (PSPCL) said that scrapping the selection panel of member PSERC in January 2016 was a violation of section 85 of Electricity Act 2003.
Padamjit Singh said that the State Government had a vested interest in keeping one post vacant as the Commission would function with one Chairman and one member, wherein the Chairman would have casting vote in case of any dissent between the two on the rates of electricity. In this way the Commission was reduced to one member Commission which was not the intent of government which in 1999 constituted PSERC as a three member Commission.
It may be mentioned that the previous Chairperson Romila Dubey and member Gurinderjit Singh had retired in Feb 2016 and they were immediately replaced by D S Bains and Santokh Singh Sarna. At that time, the post of member was vacant since December 5, 2014, but Government kept this post vacant while the fresh vacancies of Feb 2016 were filled up in the same month. From December 2014 till date the commission is functioning with 2 instead of 3 members.
While the selection of PSERC member was still going on, the model code of conduct for Assembly elections was to be declared soon.
If late, Punjab Government would have to seek Election Commission’s clearance for appointing the member, finalised during the imposition of the model code of conduct. Efforts to get official version did not succeed.
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