Chandigarh, Jun 28: More than 25,000 employees of Haryana power distribution companies are set to go on a two-day strike from June 29 seeking rollback of "outsourcing" of operation and maintenance of power sub-divisions after talks between the union leaders and the government held here today "failed to yield result".
"The talks have failed to yield result and nothing much has come out of these," Haryana Joint Action Committee (Power), General Secretary Subhash Lamba told PTI tonight after marathon five-hour talk with the government and the Committee representatives failed to bear fruit.
However, Haryana Minister Krishan Lal Panwar, who led the talks from the government side, told reporters that the government would try to persuade the employees not to proceed on strike.
Two days ago, the BJP government had invoked Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to prevent disruption in power supply. The government today invoked ESMA in the state for six months.
"As of now, we are sticking to our earlier call of proceeding on two-day strike on June 29 and 30. However, we will be holding another meeting tomorrow with union leaders to take a final call," Lamba said.
Employees have been protesting against the government's decision of "outsourcing" of operation and maintenance of 23 power sub-divisions in the state and removal of 485 contractual employees and purchase of power from private sources.
Besides, they are demanding filling up of 30,000 vacant posts, inquiry into "sharp rise in losses and debt" of power distribution companies. Earlier today, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had appealed to the agitating employees to withdraw their strike call and said his government was open to talks with them and their genuine grievances will be redressed promptly.
He had also constituted a three-member committee under Transport Minister Krishan Lal Panwar with chief secretary and additional chief secretary (Power) as its members to negotiate with the representatives of the agitating employees.
Khattar had directed the officers of the Electricity Department to ensure power supply is not disrupted causing inconvenience to people. He warned those who might try to disrupt supply power would invite stern action.
Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had yesterday slammed the BJP government for invoking the Essential Services Maintenance Act, 1974 for six months to prevent any disruption in power supply.
The strike has been jointly called by the All Haryana Power Corporation Workers Union and Haryana State Electricity Board Worker's Union. Meanwhile, Sarv Karamchari Sangh and various power unions took out a candle march at various places in the state including Ambala this evening and raised slogans against state government for its "outsourcing" decision and invoking ESMA.
Spokesman of Haryana Electricity Union Devi Prasad Bhatt said that the employees of other government departments had also offered their support to their agitation. Meanwhile the district administration of Ambala taking precautionary measures in view of the strike call has imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 in the district.