The next time electricity department staff gives a strike call, the UT administration will impose the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA).
ESMA is a law which ensures delivery of essential services, which if obstructed will affect the normal life of residents.
On Tuesday, the residents of Sectors 12, 15, 16, 20, 23, 29 and 30, besides Manimajra, had to face great inconvenience due to disrupted power supply for up to 12 hours as the UT Powermen Union had observed one-day strike.
The union had called the strike against the decision of the UT administration to corporatise the electricity department and other long-pending demands.
The top officials of the administration have formally discussed the possibility of taking the stern step if employees restore to such agitation in the future and the union members have already been warned.
UT finance secretary VK Singh accepted that they failed to see the “crisis” coming. He said, “We treated it like strikes called by the union in the past, which caused no inconvenience to the general public. They always use to get back to work after holding a protest.”
Adding, he said that they were very considerate about the demands of the employees, but putting residents to inconvenience was totally uncalled for.
Holding the administration responsible for the inconvenience caused to the public, union general secretary Gopal Datt Joshi said they had informed the officials about the strike well in advance.
“They did not even bother to meet us to resolve the issue. They listened to us only after we went on strike, which they could have done earlier also,” Joshi rued.
He further maintained that the administration cannot stop them from fighting for their rights even by imposing ESMA.
Strike causes Rs 10-lakh loss to dept
The one-day strike caused the UT electricity department loss of around Rs 10 lakh. On average, the department purchases power of around Rs 55 crore per month and around Rs 1.5 crore daily.
UT superintending engineer MP Singh said, “We have to pay fixed charges for power allocated to us whether it is used or not. We faced loss due to non-utilisation of power.”
The department is contemplating finding a way to ensure that they do not have to incur such losses in the future.
The power requirement of the city is met through central generating power stations (CGS) of the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) as determined by the government.