Meghalaya: MeECL assures to strive harder to avoid distribution franchisees
Chairman cum Managing Director (CMD) of the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) Arun Kumar Kembhavi assured to working towards improving the efficiency of the MeECL to prevent outsourcing the distribution circles to another company.
A meeting was called by the CMD with members of the Coordination Committee of Registered MeECL (Employees) Associations and Unions (CCORMAU) on Tuesday to discuss pertaining to the proposed power Distribution Franchisees, pensions, etc.
Kembhavi also clarified that outsourcing is different from privatisation.
"Privatisation is a wrong word and it is only a Distribution Franchisee (DF).There is a vast difference between DF and privatisation," he said.
However, if DF is not implemented, the MeECL's request to the Chief Minister would be to "brace itself for tough decision," he added.
"We will be abiding with whatever decision taken by the state Cabinet. If the state government asks us to take some corrective measures, we will be bound by that,” Kembhavi said, adding that the MeECL is ready to take up whatever targets the state government might give in the right earnest.
He said that the management, the association and unions are on the same page as far as Distribution Franchisees are concerned.
He said that the Shillong Central Distribution Circle and the Eastern Distribution Circle amount to only 23 per cent, adding that REC PDCL was gracious enough to accept the offer which was less than 25 per cent.
He said that in Garo Hills, three sub-stations - Phulbari, Dalu and Nangalbibra, are already under the control of private distribution company or companies and nearly 25 per cent of entire Garo Hills are under already under Distribution Franchisees.
He said that the permutation and combination was to give the Eastern Distribution Circle and Shillong Central Distribution Circle, keeping in mind the best interest of the system.
MeECL in Catch-22
Kembhavi recalled that when MeSEB was corporatised in 2010, a corpus fund of Rs 840 crore should have been created by the then government out of which the salaries, terminal benefits, Death cum Retirement Gratuity (DCRG) amount to pensioners should have been paid.
"However, it was never committed to by the then government because of which we are suffering right now. The net present value of that could be anywhere be around Rs 1500-Rs 1600 crore. It would be unfair to demand such a huge amount from the government in one go; so it is a Catch-22 situation. We have been made to pay the price for all the faults of the previous government," the CMD observed.
Kembhavi said that the Meghalaya State Electricity Regulatory Commission (MeSERC) has directed the MeECL to not pay the pension for April, due to which, pensioners are suffering.
If the MeECL has to pay the amount from its own fund, it would be illegal and unlawful. "MeECL is working on finding solutions to ensure pensioners get their benefits," he added.
What if DF plan goes ahead?
When asked about the consequences if the DF plan goes ahead, Kembhavi said that the MeECL employees within these two circles will be given an option whether to be part of MeECL or REC PDCL.
“We don’t know what will happen in the future, but it would be sufficed to say that these two circles will remain under the custody of REC PDCL for the next 25 years. The MeECL will get only the basic agreed upon amount - a fix cost but, over and above whatever is earned by REC PDCL will be the profit of the REC PDCL,” he added.
A delegation of officials and members of CCORMAU, led by the CMD, later went to meet the Power Minister James PK Sangma to raise these issues.
The power minister, CMD and CCORMAU are on the same page regarding the proposed DF. Sangma said the government is trying its best to prevent outsourcing of these two distribution circles to another company.
(Edited by Christopher Gatphoh)
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