New Delhi: Demanding their provident fund (PF) money that was wrongfully invested in the scam-hit DHFL, 45,000 employees of the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) ended a 48-hour work boycott on November 19.
The boycott follows state-wide protest rallies on November 14. Beginning November 18, demonstrations were held at district headquarters across the state, said Shailendra Dubey, convener of the UP Vidyut Karmchari Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti formed by the power employees.
After the boycott, the Sangharsh Samiti has called a meeting of its core committee on November 20 to decide the future course of action by the power employees to take the struggle forward.
The Samiti has also lent its full support to the work boycott on November 20 announced by the Junior Engineers Sangathan.
The employees demand that the Yogi Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party government issue a notification taking guarantee for the repayment of the Rs 2,600 crore of the PF funds that have not been recovered with the Dewan Housing Finance Corporation (DHFL).
All employees from the power distribution, transmission, and generation units participated — “except for the shift workers in the generation units, who were exempted from the strike, to ensure that the electricity grid does not collapse,” said Dubey to Newsclick.
“The government must take responsibility for the rightful payment of the hard-earned money of thousands of power employees,” he said. “While we are not demanding the immediate release of the Rs 2,600 crore, we want a gazette notification extending guarantee.”
The PF money of UPPCL employees was transferred as investment in DHFL between March 2017 and December 2018 under the Adityanath regime. At least five top officials have been arrested so far in connection with the scam, including former UPPCL managing director AP Mishra.
The UP Vidyut Karmchari Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti is also demanding that the chief minister carry out his promise made on November 2 to initiate a CBI inquiry into the transfer of employees’ money to DHFL.
During the two-day boycott, protest gatherings and demonstrations were held at power utility headquarters across the state — including Anpara, Obra, Paariksha, Harduaganj, Panki, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Azamgarh, Mirzapur, Saharanpur, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Bulandshahar, Noida, Agra, Aligarh, Mathura, Banda, Jhansi, Kanpur, Muradabad, Bareilly, Faizabad, Ayodhya, Gonda, Prayagraj and Lucknow.
Dubey said the employees will intensify the struggle and might even proceed on an indefinite strike if the state government fails to respond.