Lucknow: Power sector employees in several parts of western Uttar Pradesh have threatened a strike against the Yogi Adityanath-led government’s proposed plan to privatise the power distributor for eastern UP. The employees in western districts fear that Paschimanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd (AVVNL), the discom which supplies electricity in the region, may also be privatised after the eastern discom.
Power distributor Purvanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd (PuVVNL), which supplies electricity in eastern Uttar Pradesh, has been proposed to be privatised, irking employees of the power sector across the state.
A large number of power corporation employees participated in a symbolic strike at the headquarters of PuVVNL in Meerut, Saharanpur and other places on Thursday, announcing a tough stance on the issue in the coming days.
Senior officials said further agitation will take place between September 25 and October 2. It will start with a presentation of memorandum to all MPs, MLAs. They said if the privatisation doesn’t stop, an agitation will be launched across the state.
“Even if a single step is taken by the government in the direction of privatisation of the discom, we (power corporation contractors, junior engineers and engineers) will initiate a full-fledged strike, and then senior management and state government will be responsible for the consequences. We urge the chief minister to also consider us COVID-19 warriors, repose faith in us and terminate this plan of privatisation of the Eastern UP discom,” said Shailender Dubey, convenor, Vidyut Karmchaari Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti—a workers’ union.
Notably, the UP government gave its approval for the disbanding and privatisation of the PuVVNL , one of the five power distribution companies under UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL), in July this year.
Another official of the power sector association said that the Uttar Pradesh government should make its stand clear on the proposed privatisation of PuVVNL .
"Privatisation of the discom would harm the people who are already reeling under the coronavirus pandemic, as they would be paying as much as Rs 10 per unit of electricity," V P Singh, president of Uttar Pradesh Rajya Vidyut Parishad Abhiyanta Sangh, told NewsClick, adding that it will also lead to retrenchment of the discom employees.
The association's secretary, Prabhat Singh said they will organise protests from September 1 in every district served by the discom if the "anti-people" proposal is not junked.
In spite of poor service of private power companies in Agra and Greater Noida, the government wants to impose this model in the Purvanchal area, Singh added.
Meanwhile, a similar protest of engineers and employees of the power sector department has been going on for the last six days in Lucknow against the proposal to privatise PuVVNL . The power employees and engineers held a protest meeting for the fifth day at the PuVVNL headquarters and warned that if the management did not give up the dogma and the privatisation proposal was brought, the power sector employees and engineers from across the state would start a movement. On the other hand, UP Vidyut Mazdoor Sangathan has announced to launch a state-wide movement from September 29.
The meeting of the Vidyut Mazdoor Sangathan was held on Wednesday at the Central Office of Narhi, Lucknow under the chairmanship of Chairman Arun Kumar. It was decided in the meeting that the proposal of privatisation of Purvanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam, which has been brought by the management, is not in the interest of the consumer and the department. Privatisation will end employment opportunities for unemployed youth. On the other hand, the company will sell power at an expensive rate due to profitability, which will have an impact financially on the general public, the union said.