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Power sector employees begin 4-day Satyagraha against Electricity (Amendment) Bill

Power sector employees have converged at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar to begin a four-day-long Satyagraha to oppose the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2021
Power sector employees begin 4-day Satyagraha against Electricity (Amendment) Bill
Power sector employees begin 4-day Satyagraha against Electricity (Amendment) Bill
  • The four-day protest will culminate on August 6
  • The proposed bill will pave the path for the privatisation of power distribution, said AIPEF Chairman Shailendra Dubey

New Delhi: Power sector employees converged at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Tuesday to begin a four-day-long Satyagraha to oppose the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2021. “On the call of National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees & Engineers (NCCOEEE) hundreds of power employees and engineers started four-day Satyagraha at Jantar Mantar today against unilateral announcement of Central Govt to pass Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2021 in the current monsoon session of Parliament,” said an official statement released by the All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF).

The four-day protest will culminate on August 6. Over the course of these four days, employees from different regions of the country will take part. The eastern and north-eastern region will participate on August 4, the western region will participate on August 5, and the southern region on August 6.

On the first day of the protest, employees from northern India — Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Chandigarh and Delhi participated in large numbers.

Why are power sector employees protesting?

Shailendra Dubey, Chairman, AIPEF, said that many provisions of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2021 are anti-people and anti-employee and if enacted, it will have far reaching adverse consequences. He said that the Electricity Act, 2003 allowed the privatisation of generation through delicensing and now the proposed bill will pave the path for the privatisation of power distribution.

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“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. The move to de-license power distribution is no way to ensure efficient and cost-effective electricity supply to the citizens,” said Dubey.

‘Refer Electricity (Amendment) Bill to parliamentary panel’

“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 Dubey. He said that power sector employees across the country are agitating against the unilateral approach of the Central government to rush the bill through in Parliament. Dubey urged the government to first refer the bill to the Standing Committee of the Parliament on energy.

Dubey said said that after four days of Satyagraha in Delhi, about 1.5 million power employees and engineers will resort to a one-day strike/work boycott on August 10 across the country. “If the central government places the bill before August 10, then strike will be advanced and all power employees and engineers will be forced to proceed on strike on the same day when the Bill is tabled in Parliament,” he said.

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