Power sector employees and engineers on Tuesday started four days long Satyagraha at Jantar Mantar to protest against Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2021. On the call of the National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees & Engineers (NCCOEEE), hundreds of power sector workers started four-day Satyagraha at Jantar Mantar on Tuesday against the unilateral announcement of the central government to pass Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2021, in the current monsoon session of Parliament, an All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) statement said.
In the Satyagrah, the power sector workers of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Chandigarh and Delhi participated in large numbers. AIPEF Chairman Shailendra Dubey said that hundreds of power sector employees and engineers of northern region states participated today in a massive protest at Jantar Mantar. He also said that the protest will continue for four days up to August 6. The power sector employees of the eastern and north-eastern region will participate on August 4, the western region will participate on August 5, and the southern region on August 6.
He said that the workers in the power sector across the country are agitating against the unilateral approach of the central government to rush through the Bill in Parliament. Many provisions of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2021 are anti-people and anti-employee and if enacted it will have far-reaching adverse consequences, Dubey added. The bill should not be rushed through and instead should be referred to the standing committee on the energy of Parliament, he noted. He further said that Electricity Act 2003 allowed the privatisation of generation through delicensing and now the proposed Bill will pave the path for the privatisation of power distribution.
Private power companies will go for cherry-picking in supplying electricity to consumers and will prefer to supply electricity to only high revenue earning industrial and commercial consumers, which will drive state discoms to further bankruptcy. The move to de-license power distribution is no way to ensure efficient and cost-effective electricity supply to the citizens. The move to abolish the cross-subsidy in a time-bound manner and proposing a Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to such consumers by the state governments will snatch away the rights of access to electricity for farmers and poor domestic consumers, Dubey said. The central government seems more concerned over the profitability of private power companies than protecting consumer interests, he added.
He said that after four days of Satyagraha in Delhi about 1.5 million power employees and engineers will resort to a one-day strike/work boycott on August 10 across the country. If the central government places the Bill before August 10, then strike will be advanced and all power employees and engineers will be forced to proceed on strike on the same day when the Bill is tabled in Parliament, he noted. Representatives of AIPEF, Electricity Employees Federation of India, All India Federation of Power Diploma Engineers, Indian National Electricity Workers Federation, All India Powermen Federation, EEFI, and many other employees and engineers addressed the demonstration. PTI