Power Sector Employees Protest Against Electricity Amendment Bill: AIPEF

AIPEF has said that lakhs of power sector employees held peaceful protest against privatisation of Discoms and the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020

The All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) has said that lakhs of power sector engineers and employees held peaceful protest s across the country against privatisation of Discoms and the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020, on August 18, 2020.

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“Lakhs of power sector employees and engineers across the country held peaceful protest meetings seeking withdrawal of Electricity Bill 2020 and to oppose the privatisation process of electricity distribution in Union Territories and other states,” AIPEF spokesperson V K Gupta said in a statement.

The protest meetings were held under the banner of the National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees and Engineers (NCCOEEE) in all states and UTs, the statement said.

Gupta asserted that after strong protest of 11 states and two Union Territories in power ministers’ conference on July 3, the Union Power Minister had committed to bringing a modified draft of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020. However, even after more than 45 days, the government has not placed any new draft in the public domain for comments and Union Territories have been asked to privatise Discoms without getting into the details of the ground realities.

The Uttar Pradesh government has started the process of privatising Purvanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam and the Odisha government has started the privatisation process of three Discoms, it added. Odisha’s Central Electricity Supply Utility (CESU) was given to Tata Power and employees are already protesting, it added.

The provisions in the draft Amendment Bill to allow private franchisee or sub-licensee will only lead to cherry-picking of remunerative areas affecting the financial viability of Discoms, AIPEF opined. It may be mentioned that privatisation and the urban distribution franchisee model have miserably failed in all the places, it noted.

“Now imposing the same failed model on states in the name of financial help is nothing but blackmail which is not acceptable and has been vehemently opposed by power employees and engineers,” it said.

It seems that the government is more concerned about the profitability of the private sector power companies, it lamented. Gupta said the latest demonstration is a peaceful symbolic protest and if central and state governments do not stop the privatisation process, then power sector employees will be forced to resort to democratic agitational steps.

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