UP power dept employees say strike has hit distribution, seek CM Yogi's intervention
The Uttar Pradesh electricity department employees, who have stopped work for three days since last night, on Friday claimed that their strike has hit power distribution in parts of the state and sought Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's intervention to end the atmosphere of confrontation.
State's power minister AK Sharma, however, assured that things are under control and blamed some ''stubborn'' leaders of the power employee associations for the strike.
The employees began their strike at 10 pm on Thursday, claiming that some of their demands agreed upon by the government in December last year have not been fulfilled by power corporations even after three months. The demands are related to the selection of chairman and managing director in power companies and ''pay anomalies''.
The government on Thursday evening said if the strike creates problems for the public, it will take action against the employees under the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) and threatened to sack contractual workers who do not return to work. It also said action would be initiated under the National Security Act if vandalism occurs during demonstrations.
''I feel this strike is neither in the interest of power employees nor their associations but is guided by some other reasons. Some irresponsible leaders of the power organisations are responsible for the strike,” Sharma said.
“We had explained everything to them, had taken steps in employees’ interest which had not been done earlier, yet they have started the strike because of their 'hathdharmita' (stubborn attitude) and we are taking all our steps to deal with it,'' the minister told reporters.
Stressing that there have been certain incidents in some parts of the state of power employees trying to harm feeders and lines, the minister warned that strict action will be taken against all those taking the law in their hands and harming government property.
He also appealed to the people to cooperate in identifying those obstructing government work and ensure that employees willing to work are not harmed.
Claiming that some employee associations have extended support to the government, he warned that action to sack the contractual workers and those taken on outsourcing will be initiated immediately.
Referring to the employee association blaming the government for not complying with the agreement of December 2022, he said that it has only been three months and cited the example of an agreement of 2020 which has yet not been implemented fully. ''But they appeared to be in a big hurry and went on strike'', he said.
Sharma said that the power corporation has been running on continued losses and instead of helping in improving its financial condition if someone is making demands it cannot be done. ''We have sought some time and asked them to help in collecting revenue and then we will do whatever we can in the interest of employees,'' he said.
The minister underlined that power arrangements in the state are in control. We are in a comfortable situation both in generation and supply, he added. The employees have been protesting under the banner of Vidyut Karmacharis Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti, a union of electricity department employees.
Its convenor Shailendra Dubey said in a statement on Friday that the employees had to go on strike ''because of the stubborn attitude'' of the top management of energy corporations. Seeking CM Adityanath's intervention to end the atmosphere of confrontation, Dubey said, ''The strike is not our aim, an agreement was reached with the power minister on December 3, 2022, which the power corporation administration is refusing to comply with''.
He claimed that five thermal power units in Anpara, Obra, Parichaha power plants, have come to a halt even after the government made employees not participate in the strike to work extra hours.
Meanwhile, a private electrician was seriously injured while working on an electric pole in Ballia. He was rushed to the district hospital but was later referred to a Varanasi hospital, an official said in Ballia.
About 1 lakh employees are participating in the strike, according to Dubey.
Dubey has said that the government and the employees had agreed on some points on December 23 last year but those points have not been implemented yet. He claimed that the government had agreed that the chairman and the managing director of the power companies would be selected through a committee headed by the chief secretary but these posts are now being filled on the basis of transfers.
Some other points of the agreement yet to be fulfilled are the implementation of the Power Sector Employees Protection Act, stopping the outsourcing of operation and maintenance of power sub-stations for transmission, equal honorarium for different corporations, and revision of allowances and removal of salary anomalies, he added.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)