Power sector employees go on two-day strike from Tuesday

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Published: January 8, 2019 5:34:00 AM

Public sector power utility employees across the country, including engineers, will start a two-day nationwide strike on January 8 to voice their demands and highlight alleged privatisation attempts.

Public sector power utility employees across the country, including engineers, will start a two-day nationwide strike on January 8 to voice their demands and highlight alleged privatisation attempts. The strike call, given by the National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees and Engineers (NCCOEEE), is against the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2018 and the alleged privatisation policies of central and state governments.

NCCOEEE has decided to go ahead with work boycott protest and hold demonstrations on January 8 and 9 across the country ignoring the request of ministry of power, which had in a letter to NCCOEEE informed the present status of amendment bill. The ministry has termed the proposed work boycott as premature as the comments on the proposed amendment has not been fully examined as more than 100 stake holders and unions have given suggestions.

Speaking to FE, Shaliendra Dubey chairman, All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF ), said that the letter merely informs the status of the day that Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2018 has not been tabled in Parliament and comments received are being examined without any commitments on the issues raised by the power engineers and employees.

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“Since the ministry of power has not given any clear assurance to withdraw Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2018 and has also not given any commitment on other issues, mainly integration of unbundled power utilities in states, implementation of old pension scheme and regularisation of contract workers, NCCOEEE has decided to proceed with two days protest across the country,” Dubey said.

Stating that AIPEF has written a number of letters to the government of India on the Electricity (Amendment ) Bill but never received a reply or call for discussion on the matter, Dubey said only views of representatives of private sector were heard and further changes incorporated in Amendment Bill 2014. “The standing committee on energy did not invite even the biggest stake holders for discussion whom the original amendment draft was referred,” he rued.

The NCCOEEE constituents include AIPEF, All India Federation of Power Diploma Engineers (AIFOPDE), Electricity Employees Federation of India (EEFI), All India Federation of Electricity Employees (AIFEE), Indian National Electricity Employees Federation (INEWF), All India Power Men Federation (AIPF), among other organisations.

Terming the draft amendment to the Electricity Act, 2003 as “dangerous,” Dubey claimed the proposed changes are aimed at benefitting ‘the big power companies’. “The motive behind the legislation is to privatise the profits and nationalise the losses. When the loss-making sector is separated and handed over to the government supply licensee, it would only add to the existing losses of more than 3 lakh crore,” he said, adding that a point has been reached where the state discoms can no longer bear the losses.

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