CHENNAI:Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) and its two subsidiaries - Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited (TANGEDCO) and Tamil Nadu Transmission Corporation Limited (TANTRANSCO) - will be filling 900 positions (technical) and 1,500 (non-technical) in the coming months by way of an examination process.
Although this step is way ahead of filling the wide vacancy gap in the Board, the numbers are still throttling.
Members of the TNEB Engineers Union revealed that in the wage-revision meeting this year, the number of vacant positions in TNEB was announced and two areas - higher cadre engineers and lower rung technicians - were claimed to be heavily understaffed.
It has been brought to notice that 44,787 positions are lying vacant as of today. Besides being strapped for officers, there is also a huge dearth of field employees. In short, EB workers attending to an outage at the beck and call of a resident might be a far-away dream. “Of the 1.34 lakh sanctioned employees, there is vacancy of as much as 33 per cent, despite the city’s electricity demands being more pressing day by day,” said a source.
The reason for this, according to a senior engineer, is that after most of the junior-level employees are promoted, their positions remain vacant, sometimes together for years. “Ten years ago, each wireman was handling seven lines, which increased to nine five years ago, and now each one handles 15. This definitely delays a lot of the work,” he said.
The board is also short of Technical Assistants (TA), who constitute a large portion of the EB employees handling the task of protecting the equipment at the 110 KV sub-stations and taking care of transmission lines at TANTRANSCO.
There is a shortage of at least 2,000 TAs in the State, with the current number being just about 300. “Section offices have as little as one-third of sanctioned employees, and we have to carry out all the work with this manpower across the year,” said another EB engineer.
Although several parts of the Board’s Chennai region are short of hands, Coimbatore region is accounted to be the most short-staffed across the State, with many section offices having no employees.
At the senior level, the problem that arises is that the positions of people who retire are left vacant (JE, AE positions mainly). There had allegedly been disproportionate recruitment in the last 10 years, wherein less than one-fourths of vacancies were filled.
TNEB’s official response to Express was that recruitment process is to begin in full swing. “Initially, we will take in 2,500 people through a written exam by the next couple of months following which more will be recruited,” they said.