Nationwide strike on Dec 8 inevitable: Power sector employees
New Delhi, Nov 30: A body of power sector employees and engineers on Monday said that a day-long strike on December 8 to protest against Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2014 is unavoidable as negotiations remained deadlocked. "... because of no response from Union Power Minister, there is a deadlock and now December 8 strike seems inevitable," All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) said in a statement.
About 12 lakh power employees and engineers are likely to participate in the strike. According to the statement, National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees and Engineers (NCCOEEE) has already served the strike/work boycott notice to Power Minister Piyush Goyal at Kochi on November 6 during Power Ministers' conference.
Goyal had assured during discussion at Kochi that central government is making several changes in the Bill that will be placed on Internet before Winter Session of Parliament.
NCCOEEE convener A B Bardhan has reminded Goyal through a letter about his promises to redress the issues raised by workers and engineers at Kochi, but more than a week's time has elapsed and because of no response from the Union Power Minister, there was a deadlock.
AIPEF spokesperson V K Gupta said in the statement that besides opposition of power employees and engineers, central government has placed Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2014 on agenda of Lok Sabha for Winter Session.
He said the central government seems to be bent upon to pass the Bill in the ongoing session, hence power employees and engineers throughout the country have been asked to observe strike/work boycott on December 8 as a token protest.
Elaborating further, Gupta alleged, "The amendments in electricity bill are not based upon ground realities but are meant only to watch the interest of private players and will make state power utilities financially bankrupt.
"The amendments in electricity bill which seeks to segregate the power distribution network from electricity supply business is basically anti people and does not look at root cause of power sector ailments but only treat the symptoms of problems."
The multiple licensee system will help only "cherry picking" and the deterioration of the incumbent public sector licensee, which will be the only responsible for supplying electricity to the unprivileged common man, the statement said.
This simply means nationalizing the losses and privatizing the profits. The competition is possible only in a situation of surplus, not scarcity of electricity, which the country was facing, it added.