Large parts of West and South Delhi suffered long power outages after a section of BSES contractual employees disrupted supply demanding that they be regularised, prompting a stern warning from the government.
The contractual staffers claimed to have had the support of Somnath Bharti, although the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) lawmaker distanced himself from the strike, which has been termed “illegal” by the BSES.
Representatives of the workers on strike met Bharti at his residence on Thursday. Following the meeting, Bharti said the strike has been called off with immediate effect.
“Unfortunately they used my name on the poster. This strike did not have my consent, rather I was not even aware of it. I do not support the strike and it has been called of on my behest. The strike was absolutely uncalled for,” he said.
BSES’ Twitter helpline was flooded with complaints but the company’s standard reply was “Inconvenience regretted. Power demand is at an all-time high. Doing our best to restore interruptions.”
“We have received complaints of disruption and sabotage and the discoms have been asked to strongly deal with such elements. They will have to restore power at the earliest,” Delhi power minister Satyender Jain told reporters.
Delhi’s power demand had touched a peak of 6,188 MW on May 20. Today’s peak demand was at 5,879 MW around 3pm.
A representative of the BSES employees union alleged that the workers tripped switches at many places and also damaged a transformer at Punjabi Bagh.
“The problem is that the discoms are exploiting these contractual employees for a long time. They are paid just Rs 10,000 despite the fact that they are engaged in hazardous work. I have taken up the issue with the power companies and the government,” Bharti said.