Thiruvananthapuram: The Electricity Regulatory Commission has directed that only engineering degree or diploma holders should be deployed as linemen or overseers or sub-engineers for the operation and maintenance of hydel and thermal plants. Trade unions in KSEB Limited have expressed concerns about the fate of non-engineers who have already been promoted to the grades of overseers and sub-engineers and who are waiting for promotion to such grades.
The ERC diktat has come after it was found that KSEBL has not fully implemented the provisions of the Central Electrical Authority (Measures Relating to Safety and Electric Supply) Regulations, 2010. The Safety Regulations mandate that only engineering diploma or degree holders from recognized universities should be put for the operation and maintenance of distribution, generation and transmission systems. Top KSEB officials maintain that what many employees lack in education they make up with their long experience. The ERC has, however, has made it clear that unqualified persons with sufficient experience was just not enough.
“If safety regulations are implemented indiscriminately it will adversely affect the service conditions of the employees, especially the lower level employees,” a top union leader said. The officers of and above the rank of assistant executive engineer are either diploma holders or graduates in Electrical Engineering or equivalent disciplines. Therefore the implementation of the Regulations will have no effect on them. There are qualified engineers even among the employees in the grade of the assistant engineer, sub-engineer, overseer and lineman. But a good chunk of employees in these categories were initially recruited in the grade of electricity worker.
As per the present recruitment rules, the qualification for appointment to the grade of electricity worker is only a fourth standard pass, with of course the additional skill of cycling. A pass in ITI in electrician or wiremen trades is not a prescribed qualification for electricity workers. At present, the promotion posts for the electricity worker are the lineman and the overseer.
KSEBL officials have also put forward the argument that a 2014 agreement, when KSEB was transformed into a company, has assured employees that their status would remain unchanged. However, the ERC has accepted the counter argument there was no such saving clause in the 2014 agreement.