Chandigarh, Jun 29: Not paying heed to appeals by the BJP government in Haryana, thousands of employees of state power distribution companies today began a two-day strike to protest the "outsourcing" of operation and maintenance of 23 power sub-divisions in the state.
The decision to proceed with the strike came after talks with state government remained inconclusive yesterday. The Joint Action Committee of Haryana power employees unions proceeded on strike late last night, Committee's General Secretary Subhash Lamba said today.
The government was adamant on its decision of "privatisation", he said, alleging it had forced them to go on strike. Around 23,000 employees of electricity department in the state have stopped work, he said.
"The matter can be resolved still if chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar himself intervenes in the matter and the government rolls back the decision of privatisation of 23 sub divisions," Lamba said. He added the strike shall be peaceful and no power employee shall indulge in any attempt to disrupt power supply.
"The privatisation will not benefit the government in any manner. It will create financial burden on the government," he claimed. At various places in the state today, the employees raised slogans against the state government for its "outsourcing" decision and invoking ESMA.
Taking precautionary measures in view of the strike call, prohibitory orders under Section 144 have been imposed at several places, particularly in areas close to the power sub stations.
The government has recently invoked Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) in the state for six months to prevent disruption in power supply. Employees have been protesting against the government's decision of outsourcing of operation and maintenance of 23 power sub-divisions in the state.
Besides, they are demanding filling up 30,000 vacant posts, inquiry into "sharp rise in losses and debt" of power distribution companies. 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. However, the talks between Haryana government and protesting employees had "failed to yield result".
The strike has been called jointly by the All Haryana Power Corporation Workers Union and Haryana State Electricity Board Worker's Union.