AITUC condemns UP’s move to privatise electricity, arrest of unionists
New Delhi: The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) on Tuesday condemned the Uttar Pradesh government for its efforts to privatise electricity distribution business in some parts of the state.
The trade union also criticised the arrest of its members protesting against the state government’s move.
“AITUC condemns the oppressive measures being resorted to by the Yogi Government of Uttar Pradesh by mass arrests of the trade union leaders in the power sector who are opposing and organising protest demonstrations against the privatisation of electricity distribution,” an AITUC statement said.
AITUC demands that UP Government stop privatization of electricity distribution and victimization of electricity employees, the statement said.
It said that for the first phase, the government has chosen the Poorvanchal Vidyut Vitaran Nigam to bifurcate and create small units for paving its way to hand over electricity distribution to the private companies.
The government has already handed over the Agra sector to private companies, it said adding the workers are fighting unitedly under the banner of All India Federation of Electricity Employees, a joint front of all trade unions and associations of engineers.
They have started “Boycott Work” from September 28, which is Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s birth anniversary, the statement said.
AITUC rued that even without tabling the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020 in Parliament and even after facing opposition from 350 stakeholders and 12 states, the Power Ministry issued directives on September 20 to start process of privatization in all states, leaving only 26 per cent of the rural area under the state government control.
The entire responsibility of the present employees will be that of the new franchisee taking over the distribution work, it said.
AITUC expressed its unequivocal support to the fighting workers of power sector in Uttar Pradesh and calls upon other sections of the society to come in their support.
“If this anti-people policy succeeds, then not only the employees will suffer loss of their jobs, face wage cuts and social security benefits but the consumer at large would be fleeced with expensive electricity and there will be cascading effect of rising expenses in the service sector, manufacturing and agrarian sector,” it added.
In a separate statement, the All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) also condemned the arrest of its Chairman Shailendra Dubey and other engineers and employees leaders on Monday when they were proceeding for a candlelight march after a protest meeting against privatization of Varanasi Discom, in Lucknow.
Immediately, hundreds of employees gave court arrest in Lucknow. As soon as the news of the arrest spread, hundreds of employees offered arrest in different parts of the state, it added.
This compelled the state government to release all the employees, said Prasanta Chowhary, convener National Coordination Committee for Electricity Employees and Engineers.
The candlelight march was held in all the 75 districts of Uttar Pradesh.The employees and engineers are protesting against the privatization of Poorvanchal discom which includes the city of Varanasi.