The Haryana government on Friday imposed the Haryana Essential Services Maintenance Act in the state for six months, keeping in mind the call for a two-day strike on June 29 and 30 by the employees of all four power utilities.
Electricity supply in the city is likely to be affected with the power utility employees going on mass leave in protest of the proposed privatisation of maintenance in 23 sub-divisions of both power utilities and sacking of outsourced staff. In May, several areas in the city had suffered outages because the staff remained on mass leave for two days.
Haryana chief secretary DS Dhesi issued orders on Friday evening that the governor of Haryana enforced ESMA, 1974 that prohibits strike by employees of four power utilities – Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam Limited, Haryana Power Generation Corporation Limited, Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN), and Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN).
While enforcing ESMA the order said that the strike would have gravely affected generation and distribution of electricity.
Esma gives police the right to arrest, without a warrant, anybody violating the Act’s provisions.
Senior government officials also held a video conference to discuss the situation. The CS directed all district deputy commissioners and district police heads to prepare a working plan to handle law and order situation during the two days.
The power department and the home department will be issued timely directions, a letter from the CS office said. The government also directed superintendents of police and superintending engineers in the electricity department to ensure uninterrupted power supply during the strike.
Employees are protesting under the banner of Haryana Joint Action Committee comprising of all Haryana power corporation workers’ union and Haryana state electricity board workers’ union.
“The utilities were doing well and there were no losses. We do not understand the need to privatise maintenance when the existing staff work well. The decision is also an attack on the rights of the employees of the corporations,” said Mukesh Bhayana, circle secretary of the Haryana state electricity board workers’ union.
He said around 3.5 lakh employees from the post of a peon to the junior engineers would not turn up for work. Bhayana said the employees would protest the decision outside the circle offices.
Haryana joint action committee has also sought regularisation of contractual staff, removal of pay anomalies, re-organisation of discoms and filling of vacant posts on annual basis and timely promotions. There is also a demand for cashless mediclaim for the employees.
Sanjeev Chopra, superintending engineer (operations) of DHBVN said that since the ESMA has been imposed the strike would not have impact on the routine power supply.