Mass retirement of staff: KSEB to hire retirees on contract

The mass retirement will also place a heavy financial burden on the KSEB, which requires Rs 650 crore to disburse the end of the service benefits to the employees.
The contract employees will be getting an honorarium of Rs 750 per day.
The contract employees will be getting an honorarium of Rs 750 per day.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Staring at a manpower crunch in the wake of mass retirement of its employees this month end, about 1,100 staff members are scheduled to retire on May 31, the KSEB has decided to reemploy retirees, albeit temporarily, on contract basis.

The mass retirement will also place a heavy financial burden on the KSEB, which requires Rs 650 crore to disburse the end of the service benefits to the employees.

Though a major chunk of this amount can be channeled from the Pension Master Trust, the board will have to rely on daily cash flow too to meet the demand, a senior official said. It will take up to six months to disburse the entire amount, he said.

The KSEB’s decision to set up a ‘Power Brigade’ comprising retired employees has already come under flak from the opposition trade union.

The contract employees will be getting an honorarium of Rs 750 per day. Rajan Khobragade, CMD, KSEB has permitted deputy chief engineers of electricity circles to avail the services of experienced retired employees and contract staff.

A majority of the retiring employees belong to overseer and lower grade posts. Post May 31, the board is expected to feel the heat on shortage of staff, especially in the cadre of Linemen in the 776 electrical section offices across the state. Already, the summer showers have brought in added responsibility to linemen staff. “The deputy chief engineer of electrical circle shall assess the requirement of additional personnel in each electrical section office,” says the order issued on May 13. 

‘Permanent staff need of hour, not contract appointments’

“The official can permit engagement of retired employees aged below 65 years who are experienced contract personnel on Rs 750 per day honorarium. The facility shall remain in force for a period up to the 4th August 2024, or an earlier date as ordered whichever is earlier,” says the order issued on May 13.

Kerala Electricity Officers’ Confederation (Congress) general secretary P S Prasanth said the need of the hour is permanent employees and not contract appointments. “This is nothing but an unannounced job freeze. Under this guise, the board’s move is to bring in retired employees as backdoor appointments,” he told TNIE.

The heavy summer showers have brought down the power consumption drastically so that the board doesn’t have to procure power from outside at exorbitant rates.

Last year, nearly 900 employees had retired during May which required more than `500 crore towards pension benefits. It took the board six months to clear the dues, a senior KSEB official said. “We are anticipating the same scenario in 2025 as well,” he added.

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