THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The corporatisation of the Kerala State Electricity Board was completed on Friday with a tripartite agreement being signed by the board, state government and employees’ unions.
The tripartite agreement incorporates various safeguards related to the pension, terminal benefits and job security of the KSEB’s permanent employees as well as part-time contingent employees. A master trust has been constituted to manage funds for the terminal benefits and pensions.
With the signing of the agreement, the corporatisation process that was officially kicked off in 2008 came to an end.
While many states had decided to unbundle state electricity boards into separate entities handling generation, transmission and distribution of power, Kerala had decided to maintain the KSEB as a single state-owned company.
In September 2008, the assets and liabilities of the power utility were formally vested with the government as per the Kerala Electricity First Transfer Scheme. The new company, Kerala State Electricity Board Ltd, was registered under the Companies Act on January 14, 2011.
The revestment of assets and liabilities into the new company was done in October 2013 following Cabinet approval. The KSEB had then officially become a company, but the unions refused to sign the tripartite agreement, citing various clauses as problematic. The board has 33,000 employees in all. While the unions affiliated to the CITU and INTUC signed the agreement, the AITUC-backed union abstained.
The AITUC-backed Kerala Electricity Workers Federation stayed away from the signing, alleging that the tripartite agreement didn’t protect the employees’ benefits. The AITUC has been demanding that benefits such as pensions should continue to be disbursed directly from the KSEB, and not through the master trust.
“We have opposed the corporatisation of the KSEB since the beginning. This is a ploy to privatise the KSEB,” said the union’s president, A N Rajan.
KSEB chairman M Sivasankar and other officials were present at the function.