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Padamjit Singh: A Living Legend at P.S.E.B.
By SARBJIT DHALIWAL
The Tribune, Chandigarh, Nov. 25, 2003
Among nearly one lakh employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (P.S.E.B.), he has become a living legend in his own right. All love him and praise his extraordinary simplicity, honesty, and competence. The man is Mr. Padamjit Singh, who will bid adieu to the Board in a few days from now after serving it with distinction for about 35 years. He is retiring on November 30 as Chief Engineer (Systems Operation). It was with Mr. Padamjit Singh's efforts that the P.S.E.B. saved Rs. 85 crore this year during the paddy season. He planned the purchase of power from the national grid and other sources in such a manner that it resulted in huge savings. He purchased maximum power during off-peak hours when it was available at the cheapest rates.
His trademark is his decades-old two-wheeler - the bicycle. Though as a chief engineer he is entitled to an official car, he never avails the facility. He moves about on the bicycle from one office to the other to attend to official business. However, whenever he has to go far from his headquarters at Patiala, he takes a car from the official pool. 'In the present era of bloated egos and official status-flaunting, not to use the official car is a big sacrifice. I often see officers even with smaller status cribbing in case they are not provided with a fancy pen stand, glass, and table lamp on their official desk,' says a superintendent of the P.S.E.B.
No one has ever raised an accusing finger at Mr. Padamjit Singh. Most of the engineers join government service to be rich overnight, but Mr. Padamjit Singh has been helping the needy from his own pocket. When corruption is all-pervading, Mr. Padamjit Singh has become a model for several engineers for his uprightness and honesty. He was honoured this year with the prestigious Baba Farid Award by the Baba Farid Society for his spotless service record. He has a habit of reaching his office well before official hours.
Mr. Padamjit Singh completed his Senior Cambridge [high school] from the famed Doon School where the late Rajiv Gandhi and others like Capt. Amarinder Singh were seniors to him. He earned a B.Tech. in electrical engineering from I.I.T., New Delhi and has made enormous contribution to the power engineering profession. Wherever he served, he left his mark with his intelligent and straightforward way of working. He has led power engineers at national, regional, and state levels in various capacities such as president and general-secretary of engineer associations. He once headed the All-Indian Power Engineers Federation besides being president of the P.S.E.B. Engineers Association.
He belongs to an illustrious family. His father was a doctor in the army and saw action in the Second World War in the Middle East. His mother, Dr. Davinder Kaur, earned a Ph.D. in psychology from London University in 1928. His elder brother, Sqd. Ldr. Pritam Singh, died in an air crash in 1967. Another brother is settled in the U.S.A. His sister, Jasjit Kaur, has written biographies, including that of Gen. P.S. Bhagat. About a year ago, Mr. Padamjit Singh was shifted from the office of Systems Operation as he had refused to endorse the contract to buy power through private brokers at unreasonable rates. But after a few months, his transfer was cancelled.
Mr. Padamjit Singh has plans to settle in Delhi to work at the national level with top retired power experts such as Mr. Ashok Rao. 'It will be a big loss to Punjab's power sector. It will be good if Punjab utilizes his service for a better cause,' say his engineer colleagues.