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Delhi's Lt Gov invokes ESMA as pre-emptive measure ahead of proposed strike

Declaring the supply and distribution of electricity as "essential" services, Delhi's Lt Governor Anil Baijal has invoked ESMA as a pre-emptive measure ahead of a proposed strike by the electricity employees in the national capital. The electricity employees and engineers had planned a one-day strike on January 8 or 9 to press for their demands and also join a nationwide strike called by central trade unions on one of the two days. "The Delhi LG... prohibits the strike by electricity employees and engineers (BSES, BSES Yamuna and TATA power) for a period of six months," a Delhi government notification said late on Friday.

According to officials, all the three distribution companies (discoms) had written to the Power Department of the Delhi government, requesting them to invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) for power utilities in view of the proposed nationwide strike call. The discoms' letter said: "It is imperative that the necessary provisions under the ESMA may be invoked well before January 8 to prohibit strikes which may lead to the total disruption of essential services and the crippling of life for all the inhabitants of Delhi."

(With inputs from agencies.)

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