New Delhi: About 1.5 million power sector engineers and employees across the country will resort to a one-day strike/work boycott on August 10 to protest against the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2021, said Shailendra Dubey, Chairman of All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) in a statement on Wednesday. The bill has been listed for the Monsoon Session of Parliament, which is slated to begin on July 19. Dubey has demanded that the bill should not be rushed through and instead should be referred to the Standing Committee on Energy of Parliament.
He said that the main stakeholders — power consumers and power employees — should be given the opportunity to place their view point before placing it in Parliament. In case the government tries to pass the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2021 before August 10, the strike/ work boycott will be preponed to the same day, added Dubey.
The AIPEF Chairman said that the Electricity Act 2003 allowed the privatisation of generation through delicensing and now the proposed amendment bill will pave the path for the privatisation of power distribution through its delicensing. "Private power companies will go for cherry picking in supplying electricity to consumers and will prefer to supply electricity to only high-revenue-earning industrial and commercial consumers which will drive state discoms to further bankruptcy," said Dubey.
Power sector employees and engineers will hold protest meetings on July 19 across the country. NCCOEEE core committee office bearers will meet Union Power Minister RK Singh on July 27 in New Delhi to hand over a memorandum against the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2021. The office-bearers of various organisations will hold four-day Satyagraha at Shram Shakti Bhawan, New Delhi from August 3 after holding state-level conventions of power employees and engineers in all state capitals on July 29.
"Consumers and power sector employees and engineers, who are major stakeholders, are being ignored in finalising the draft Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2021. The Central government has not made any effort to discuss the issues with engineers and employees," said Dubey.
"The move to de-license power distribution is no way to ensure efficient and cost-effective electricity supply to citizens. Unless the reform is designed scrupulously, taking into account ground realities, the well-intended objective of 'choice to consumers' may not be fulfilled. The move to abolish the cross-subsidy in a time-bound manner and proposing a Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to such consumers by the state governments will snatch away the rights of access to electricity for farmers and poor domestic consumers," said the AIPEF Chairman.
He also alleged that the Central government seems more concerned about the profitability of private power companies than protecting consumer interests. It will be wrong on the part of the Central government to display a self-righteous attitude and bring in far-reaching statutory changes that cut at the root of federalism, said Dubey.
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