The contractual employees of Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP) Bathinda, and Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant (GHTP), Lehra Mohabat, blocked deputy commissioner’s office on Friday.
Hundreds of protestors accompanied by their families, blocked Bathinda-Mansa road outside mini secretariat for more than four hours.
The agitators raised slogans against Punjab government.
They protested against management of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited for their decision to shut down public thermal plants for six months during winter season. The plants are being shut from November 1 onwards. The agitators also demanded regularisation of their jobs.
“To encourage privatisation of public-sector services, the state government has decided to close three thermal plants of the state located at Rupnagar, Lehra Mohabbat and Bathinda, said Jagroop Singh, president of GHTP contractual workers union.
“By taking the closure decision, state government and PSPCL management is playing with jobs of contractual employees,” said Singh.
“More than 3,500 employees will be jobless as there will no source of income for them to make both ends meet,” Singh said.
Rajinder Singh Dhillon, general secretary of the union, said the state government is playing at the hands of multinational private companies.
The government is willing to close the public sector institutions to promote privatisation without considering the future of contractual government employees, said Dhillon.
“On one hand, the government is making tall claims of providing employment to more than one lakh people and on the other, it is taking away employment of contractual employees,” he said.
The union leaders said not only contractual employees, even the services of regular staffers will be affected due to the government’s decision.
“Despite repeated presentations, the state government failed to pay heed to our demand of regularising the services,” the union said.
Other unions including Bhartiya Kisan Union (ugarahan) and Naujawan Bharat Sabha also supported their protest.
Meanwhile, heavy police force was deployed near Bathinda thermal plant, where deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had come to inaugurate the railway over bridge.
Earlier, the protestors had threatened to disrupt Sukhbir’s function.