Relief from power cuts in sight as BSES contractual staff call off strike

  • Ritam Halder, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 22, 2016 15:39 IST
Long power outages plagued parts of southern and western Delhi on Wednesday and Thursday as contractual employees union went on strike over demands of 50% salary hike and other issues. (Abhinav Saha/ HT Photo)

BSES contractual employees, who were on a strike that hit power situation in parts of western and southern Delhi, have called off their protest after a meeting with Delhi power minister Satyendar Jain.

DC Kapil, general secretary of the discom’s contractual employees union, told Hindustan Times that they decided to call off the strike after meeting the meeting where AAP leader Somnath Bharti was also present.

“We have decided to defer the strike. Our main demands are regularisation of staff on contract and salary hike. The government has already formed a committee, which is expected to submit a report on revision of salaries of contractual employees. The power minister asked us for a month’s time to take care of the modalities. If our demands are not met by August 21, we will go on strike again,” Kapil said.

Long power outages plagued parts of southern and western Delhi on Wednesday and Thursday as contractual employees union went on strike over demands of 50% salary hike, ‘same work same pay’, conveyance allowance and TA/DA, among others.

Many localities, including Dwarka, Rajouri Garden and Punjabi Bagh in western Delhi, and Defence Colony, Gulmohar Park, Saket, Panchsheel Enclave, Sangam Vihar and Badarpur in southern Delhi experienced power cuts. Even early Friday, there were reports of long power cuts from Tilak Nagar in western Delhi and Palam in south-west Delhi.

The government said there were complaints of sabotage. Lack of manpower also meant faults were not fixed in time. There were also allegations that striking workers tripped switches at many places and also damaged a transformer at Punjabi Bagh.

The office-bearer of the union, however, said there was no foul play on their part. “There was no sabotage anywhere by any of our members. We didn’t want to cause inconvenience for people of the city. But our voices were going unheard. So 7,600 workers of the BSES Rajdhani Power Limited went off duty in protest on Wednesday.

“After them, 4,200 contractual employees of BSES Yamuna Power Limited were to go on strike, followed by non-regularised staff of the Tata Power. However, after the government’s intervention and promise, we have decided to stop the stir for now,” Kapil said.

When a power outage occurs, the complaint comes on a helpline and a team is dispatched to fix it and restore supply. If it is not, the load on the nearby cables increases and as a result the line trips and automatically shuts down.

A BSES spokesperson had earlier said that an unrecognised union called a strike and illegal disruption of work on Saturday. “We have informed Delhi government about this. With support from our employees and the authorities, we are prepared to meet any exigency.

“On the whole, we ensured smooth power supply to 38 lakh consumers. However, a few isolated pockets in west and south Delhi were hit for a short while,” the spokesperson said.

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