Jharkhand stares at a possible blackout as employees of the state’s electricity agency have called an indefinite strike from February 24 demanding implementation of several measures previously agreed upon.
The Jharkhand Rajya Bijili Kamgar Union (JRBKU), an organisation of power employees, sent a letter on Sunday to the management of Jharkhand Urja Vikash Nigam Limited (JUVNL), giving a three-week notice prior to the strike.
A copy of the letter was marked to chief minister Raghubar Das and Union power minister Piyush Goyal.
The union’s state general secretary, Ramkrishna Singh, said the decision to go on strike was taken because two successive JUVNL chairman-cum-managing directors, SK Verma and incumbent SKG Rahate, have thrice betrayed agreements with workers.
“They had signed agreements thrice to promote fourth-grade graduate workers to third-grade posts as well as regularise all mandays (the term used for daily wage workers of JUVNL) and contractual computer operators. But the management has not initiated any step to fulfill a single point in the agreements,” he alleged.
Singh said the patience of more than 8,000 employees, including 3,000 contractual workers, was running out.
The JUVNL employees had gone on strike in 2014 but withdrew after the high court’s intervention.
Singh said the then power minister Rajendra Prasad Singh had assured in January 2014 during a meeting to provide 200 unit free electricity to retired employees of the state-owned power company and pay arrears for overtime. “But these were all thrust under the carpet. Rather, contractual workers who have been working for the past 15 years were being retrenched in the name of examination.”
The union appealed to the chief minister to intervene, saying an indefinite strike would paralyse the state completely.