Trade unions in Kerala sore over KSEB bid to post police officers to guard Vydyuthi Bhavan
It should be recalled that the Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission is yet to approve the cost of 6,825 additional staff in the board when they are seeking appointment of the police force
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The move to appoint armed police at Vydyuthi Bhavan headquarters at Thiruvananthapuram has come under flak from trade unions. KSEB chairman B Ashok has decided to appoint 24 police officers, including two women. It should be recalled that the Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission is yet to approve the cost of 6,825 additional staff in the board when they are seeking appointment of the police force which is expected to see an expenditure of Rs 12.54 lakh per month towards their salary alone.
Currently, the board has more than 350 security personnel, who are all ex-servicemen registered under the Kerala State Ex-servicemen Development and Rehabilitation Corporation, deployed in the main office at Pattom and also at generating stations and power stations across the state. They get only daily minimum wages of Rs 740 which comes to Rs 2.4 lakh per month for security officials at Vydyuthi Bhavan alone. The director board has taken a decision to have eight police personnel in a single shift where four of them will be armed. There will be two police personnel at the main entrance and one of them will be a woman. Trade union leaders are up in arms as their movement is likely to be restricted most, as only two office-bearers will be allowed entry with a pass at a time.
"Even before trade unions were called for meeting, the board had taken a decision to bring police personnel for security duties at Vydyuthi Bhavan. After implementing it at the main office, it will be replicated in all offices of the board across state. The decision to bring in police officers to the headquarters will drastically affect the serving security personnel here," a trade union office-bearer told TNIE on condition of anonymity.
In fact, pro-Left trade unions like CITU and AITUC have come out against the board's decision to bring 'Police Raj' in KSEB. They rue that this new move is happening at a time when the regulatory commission is yet to consider the excess employee strength in KSEB.
"The police force will get deputation anywhere in the state. But the livelihood of hapless ex-servicemen who have been serving the board for several decades is going to be affected. If Rs 2.4 lakh is spent as salary for security force at KSEB headquarters, now the board will be forced to pay close to Rs 13 lakh which would fall on the consumers eventually, as power charge," another trade union leader told TNIE.