12 lakh power sector staff threaten to go on nation-wide strike
Around 12 lakh power employees and engineers across the country will go on one-day strike when the Electricity (Amendment) Bill will be presented in the monsoon session of Parliament.
Despite the opposition of power employees and engineers to the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2014, it has been put on agenda of Lok Sabha and can come up anytime between July 21 and August 13, chairman of All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) Shailendra Dubey said on Monday.
"Hence, powermen throughout the country have been alerted to observe strike/work boycott on that day," he said. Opposing the bill, Dubey alleged the amendments were not based upon ground realities and were in the interest of private players.
"This will make state power utilities financially bankrupt as the amendments in electricity bill seeks to segregate the power distribution network from electricity supply business... this is basically anti-people and does not look at root cause of power sector ailments," he said.
Stressing that 18 states have already opposed the bill, which is before the Standing Committee of Parliament on Energy, Dubey said the Centre is bent upon passing the bill to facilitate corporate houses. "This is not acceptable to power employees and engineers," he warned.
The National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees and Engineers (NCCOEEE) has already served the strike/ work boycott notice to Prime Minister with copies to Union power minister, Union labour minister and chief ministers of all states, he said.
The signatories of strike/work boycott notice are All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF), All India Federation of Power Diploma Engineers (AIFPDE), All India Electricity Employees Federation (AITUC), Electricity Employees Federation of India (CITU), Indian National Electricity Workers Federation (INTUC), All India Power Mens Federation and some independent worker unions in other states, Dubey added.
The bill seeks to segregate the power distribution network from electricity supply business.
It envisages to provide customers the option to choose their electricity service providers and is expected to bring more competition and improve quality of services in the power distribution segment.
The bill, which also seeks to introduce multiple supply licensees in the market, was introduced in Parliament in December last year.
Thereafter, it was sent to Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy for perusal. The panel had submitted its report in May.
The Standing Committee had expressed reservations on proposed development of futures market for trading of power in the bill, saying it will result into artificial shortage of electricity which would push prices upwards.
The panel had also said the intention of the bill is to segregate the entire distribution network from the supply business.