Power supply was hit across Haryana on Wednesday with over 20,000 technical and secretarial employees of both power distribution companies (discoms) - the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) and Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) - going on one-day mass casual leave in protest against hiring of private contractors for the maintenance and operations of 11-KV and low-tension (LT) transmission lines in all the 23 sub-divisions in the state.
The employees, including assistant linemen to junior engineers on the technical side, ministerial and secretarial staff, also staged protest in all the circle offices throughout Haryana against privatisation policy of the Haryana government as they maintained that power utilities would pay about `22 lakh per sub-division per month to each private contractor for the maintenance and operation of lines. “The authorities should instead spend money on recruiting staff to meet the grave staff shortage problem,” power employees leader Subhash Lamba told HT and added that this was the government’s first step before handing over the power sector of Haryana to private sector and all the employees were opposed to this policy.
Demanding a high-level probe into the irregularities in the functioning of the power sector, he also alleged that it was because of the mismanagement that there were losses to the tune of `34,000 crore.
The power employees union would also hold a meeting in Jind on Thursday (May 12) and announce its future action plan, Lamba said.
Meanwhile, senior officials said that though power services were hit because of the mass leave of the employees as well as the bad weather on Tuesday night, the services were restored during the day time on Wednesday with the help of private contractors’ labour.
POWER SUPPLY HIT FOR OVER 20 HOURS
Electricity supply was hit for over 20 hours in several rural and urban areas of the region due to the day-long protest leave of employees of the power distribution companies (discoms) - the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) and Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) .
Several feeders, especially in the rural areas, were closed due to breakdown, following rainfall and heavy wind which disrupted power supply around 9pm on Tuesday. As the technical staff was on leave, the supply of several feeders could not be restored.
Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s Karnal and adjoining Yamunanagar district remained the worst-affected with breakdown of several feeders for the past 20 hours, but there was nobody to restore the supply, as heavy winds uprooted electric poles.
Several senior officials of the electricity department of Karnal district, including the superintending engineer DVS Dhankar, could not be contacted after repeated attempts as about 30% area of the chief minister’s home constituency of Karnal was without electricity. However, power supply was resumed in the VIP area.
Agitated Karnal residents held a protest outside the mini-secretariat and submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner Mandeep Singh Barar against the public harassment due to protest by the government employees.
“There was no electricity for the past 18 hours in our locality, but the there is nobody to listen the problems of the people,” said Sandeep Lathar of Karnal. Similarly problems were faced by the people in the rural areas as several feeders broke down since last night.
“We are without electricity for the past 20 hours, even as the government had taken 30 acres of fertile land free of cost for setting up a powerhouse. Now there is nobody to restore our electricity supply”, said Parveen Kumar of Yunishpur village of Karnal district.
When contacted, UHBVN’s Yamunanagar superintending engineer (SE) Hari Prakash Sharma said, “We are making efforts to restore supply to all 190 feeders of the district. Though, we had restored about 90% supply in the city last night, but the supply to 42 rural feeders is yet to be restored”.
In Kurukshetra district, about 10 feeders were closed since Tuesday night and officials claimed that the efforts were being made to restore these feeders.
In Panipat, uses supply to three major power houses at Gohana road, Kutani and minisecretariat area was stopped due to breakdown night. “We are taking help of senior officers who are on duty and employees of private companies to restore supply in the entire district and it will restored soon”, said Panipat SE AK Raheja.
Meanwhile, the administration has cancelled the mass leave applications of the employees, who were protesting under the banner of All Haryana Power Corporation Workers Union.
CONTRACTUAL EMPLOYEES JOIN PROTEST IN HISAR
Hisar: Workers of Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) went on one-day protest leave on in Hisar, Fatehabad and Sirsa districts Wednesday.
During a demonstration here, protesters raised slogans against the government for alleged privatisation of the electricity department. The contractual employees also joined the protest.