DoPN makes attempt to revive dying training centre for line workers
Power Department officials releasing the LMTC manual in Dimapur.
DIMAPUR, OCTOBER 13 (MExN): The Department of Power, Nagaland (DoPN) has made a step to revive a forgotten and dying training centre for the department’s line workforce. Its Lineman Training Centre (LMTC), located in Electrical colony, Dimapur is nearly 50 years old and as per the department, “one of the earliest in-house Departmental training centres in the state.”
According to the DoPN, the LMTC, despite its importance to a “complex and technical sector like power” did not get the attention it deserved. “The need to adequately train our field workers in line construction and in operation & maintenance was sought to be imparted in the Lineman Training Centre.”
However, years of neglect, mainly attributed to fund constraints, rendered it as good as a non-performing asset. The LMTC, since its inception in the 1970s, went on to not have proper class rooms, training equipments and faculty. It did not even have a training manual only till recently.
The manual titled ‘LMTC Training Manual’ (first edition 2019) was released by Engineer-in-Chief, DoPN, Er G Chishi at a programme held at the LMTC on October 12. The Department regarded the publication as a step towards revamping the LMTC.
As per a press release from the Superintending Engineer (E), Dimapur Electrical Circle, Er Moa Aier, the Department decided to revamp the LMTC, starting with the design and publication of its first Training Manual.
The release said that Er. Chishi assured to make “all efforts” to transform the LMTC. “Over the years, the LMTC rather than getting built up was deteriorating due to lack of funds as there was no budgeted head for trainings and LMTC.” While challenging his subordinates to “have a positive attitude,” he said that he had directed the Department’s various Divisions to make “resource contribution” for the development of the LMTC and creating awareness on the importance of training.
He asserted that it will be the DoPN’s policy to train all fresh recruits – JEs/SDOs/Meter Readers/Bill Assistants/Field staffs. He further maintained that workcharge staff would not be eligible for regularisation unless they possess the LMTC Certificate.
According to the All Nagaland Electricity Field Workers Association (ANEFWA), about 50% of the DoPN’s field employees were untrained. ANEFWA Dimapur Zone President, Ghonito Chishi revealed that due to shortage of field personnel, “Divisional Engineers were unwilling to spare them to be sent for training.” The release added, “But he wished that all field staffs should be given yearly refresher course trainings.”
Chief Engineer (Transmission & Generation) Er Shikato, CE said that the Department’s technical staff, when assigned to undergo training should not regard it as punishment. The release said, “the facility and the quality of the training should be such that, they should look forward to training. He committed that the physical infrastructure of the LMTC will be improved.
Chief Engineer (Distribution & Revenue) KK Awomi expressed lament that while the Utilities sector has progressed to preventive maintenance, Nagaland is still stuck in “line restoration attempts only after breakdowns.” He called for the DoPN to transition to a phase where the focus will be more on prevention rather than restoring breakdowns.
Er. PenrithungYanthan, President Association of Power Engineers Nagaland (APEN), said that lack of skills and knowledge led to poor motivation and poor service, as was being experienced today. The LMTC should not be a mere Centre, but should have the equipment and facility to become an Institute, he said, adding that it should be the policy of the Department that every one of its employee is trained.
SE (MIS), Er B Tiameren, said that that unless field staffs are trained properly, they would be unable to function effectively and become hazardous too. “As technology is also fast changing especially in IT, the Department should also keep pace with proper training, and LMTC should also be equipped to provide IT training,” he said.
Work safety and commercial/revenue are two other critical issues confronting the Department today. In this regard, Er Aier, who is also the LMTC head said, “Unless training, re-training and regular refresher courses were conducted the Power Department would not be able to deliver proper services.”
He further pitched a proposal to upgrade the LMTC to a broader Nagaland Power Training Institute, which can train not only the field workers, but all officers, ministerial and all other category of departmental staff.