The police lathicharged the protesting employees of the Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP) here when they were marching towards the residence of local MLA Saroop Chand Singla on Wednesday.
The employees were protesting against the state government’s decision to close thermal plants for six months during the winter season. This is reportedly because of low power demand during these months. The closure started from November 1.
They also condemned the management of the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) for its decision to terminate services of 48 contractual workers in GNDTP.
Anticipating the protest, the police on Wednesday morning had made elaborate arrangements to prevent the protesters from gheraoing Singla’s residence. All roads leading to the MLA’s residence were sealed as a precautionary measure.
However, some employees succeeded to dodge the police and reached Singla’s residence. To disperse them, the police resorted to lathicharge. Following this, the protestors sat on a dharna near Singla’s residence for an “indefinite period”.
Gursewak Singh, convener of the employees’ common forum, said they were holding a “peaceful march”, but police lathicharged the protestors, in which an employee sustained minor injuries. Criticising the government, he said, “First the government took our jobs, and now they are using force to suppress our voice.”
He added that the termination of 48 contractual employees at the GNDTP was “totally unjustifiable”. He alleged that the government and the PSPCL management were planning to terminate services of other employees too.
Singh said, “Following the PSPCL’s decision, more than 3,500 employees will become jobless due to this decision.” HTC