Saturday, August 25, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

PSEB Chairman told to resign
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
The state government has asked the Punjab State Electricity Board, (PSEB) Chairman, Mr G.S. Sohal, to resign, it is reliably learnt.

For quite some time, the government had been “unhappy” over the manner in which the PSEB was functioning. The Minister of Power, Mr Sikandar Singh Maluka, did not see eye to eye with the Chairman on several matters. The confrontation that had been brewing between them culminated today in Mr Sohal being summoned to Chandigarh and asked to resign.

Mr Sohal, along with three other board members, Mr A.K. Kundra, Mr Kirpal Singh and Mr Suresh Gupta, was appointed for a two-year term on January 13, 2000. It was on the advice of the former Adviser, Energy, Mr N.S. Vasant, that Mr Sohal was appointed, much to the consternation of PSEB engineers.

Of late, state government intervention had increased in the affairs of the PSEB, an autonomous body. It has been incurring financial losses, at present estimated at Rs 1,400 crore. This was due to a variety of factors: free power to farmers, concessional power to certain sections of the consumers, theft of power, transmission and distribution losses, etc.

The Chairman, it is learnt, has left for New Delhi to meet Mr Parkash Singh Badal before submitting his resignation, say sources.

Just a fortnight ago, through a notification, the government had taken away the powers of the board on postings and transfers. The PSEB Engineers Association was peeved at the way the board’s autonomy was being eroded. While Mr Badal is keen on 24-hour supply of power to villages and is making promises at “sangat darshan”, the board failed to implement this speedily, reflecting on its administrative and operational efficiency.

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