New Delhi: In protest against the process of privatisation of the Electricity Department of the Union Territory of Puducherry, 27 lakh electricity employees and engineers from across the country showed their solidarity with the electricity workers of Puducherry by holding a protest meeting on Saturday. All India Power Engineers’ Federation (AIPEF) Chairman Shailendra Dubey said that on the directions of the Central government, RFP was issued on September 27 to start the bidding process for the privatisation of Puducherry Electricity Department. In order to protest against the decision, all electrical workers and engineers of Puducherry resorted to an indefinite strike from September 28 which is still continuing, he said.
Power sector employees demand cancellation of privatisation process
Puducherry power department employees have demanded that the privatisation process be cancelled and the RFP documents be withdrawn.
Dubey said that the electricity department of Puducherry is running in profit and the power losses of Puducherry are only 11.5 percent, which is less than the 15 percent according to the norms set by the Central government.
He said that the Central government had issued the draft Standard Bidding Document (SBD) for privatisation in September 2020, which has not been finalised by the Central government yet. “In such a situation, the question arises that on what basis the entire electricity department is being privatised without finalising the standard bidding document,” asked the AIPEF Chairman.
Apart from this, the Central government has introduced the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022 in the Lok Sabha in the last Monsoon Session, which has been referred to the Parliament’s Standing Committee on electricity affairs. Dubey said that when the standard bidding document has not been finalised and the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2022 has been referred to the Standing Committee for consideration, then on what basis is Puducherry’s electricity department being 100 percent privatised?
He said that the Central government has also circulated the draft Electricity (Amendment) Rule 2022 by the end of August. This too has not been finalised. “Under these circumstances, what is the hurry to privatise the profit-making Puducherry Electricity Department is not known,” said Dubey. “Some corporate houses must be lobbying for privatisation,” he alleged.
He said that power sector employees across the country have shown solidarity by demonstrating in all the provinces in support of Puducherry electricity workers.
He demanded that in view of the above circumstances, the proposal of the privatisation of Puducherry Electricity Department should be cancelled and the RFP documents issued for privatisation be withdrawn. He warned that if any attempt is made to suppress the power employees of Puducherry who are peacefully on strike, there will be severe reaction and power employees and engineers across the country will be compelled to take to the streets and agitate against it, whose responsibility will be of the Central government.
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