Maharashtra Power Employees Stage Strike Against Privatization
© Sputnik / Rahul TrivediEmployees of Various Electricity Companies Show Solidarity with state-owned electricity companies in Maharashtra Protesting Against Privatization
© Sputnik / Rahul Trivedi
An action committee of 31 unions of Maharashtra power companies announced an action last month over various demands including privatization of power firms.
Thousands of employees of the state-owned electricity companies in India's Maharashtra state went on strike on Wednesday.
The firms include the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd (Mahavitaran), Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Co Ltd (Mahapareshan) and Maharashtra State Electricity Generation Co Ltd (Mahanirmiti).
As per media reports, at least 86,000 employees are striking, demanding not to issue a "parallel distribution licence" to the power company owned by Adani group.
Meanwhile, Krushna Bhoir, General Secretary of the Maharashtra State Electricity Workers' Federation, told the media that the protest is going on peacefully across the state as the protesting employees are sitting in tents erected outside their establishments.
He even informed the media that the state government has called them for meeting and Deputy State Chief Devendra Fadnavis will meet members of the Maharashtra Rajya Karmachari, Adhikari and Abhiyanta Sangharsh Samiti, action committee of 31 unions of power companies, at the Sahyadri Guest House here at around 1 p.m. (IST).
Ahead of the strike, Maharashtra state government invoked the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act (MESMA) so that law and order is maintained and public property is protected in the state.
"In view of the strike notice served by Maharashtra state electricity employees, officers, engineers, Sangharsh Sameetee (approx 30 unions)...the Government has decided to invoke provisions of the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act-2017 to ensure normalcy in the state," the government resolution said.
Meanwhile, thousands of workers and engineers took to streets in other parts of the country to show solidarity with the protesting employees of the state-owned electricity companies of Maharashtra.
© Sputnik / Rahul TrivediEmployees of Electricity Companies Protesting against Privatization of State-Owned Power Companies
Employees of Electricity Companies Protesting against Privatization of State-Owned Power Companies
© Sputnik / Rahul Trivedi
The controversy began in November, when Adani Electricity Navi Mumbai Ltd, a subsidiary of Adani Transmission, had applied for a parallel license for power distribution under the jurisdiction of Mahavitaran.
The state government has asked the officials to take all necessary steps to ensure normal supply of electricity in the state. However, All India Power Engineers Federation said that more than 8000 MW of power generation have been stalled in the state.
Shailendra Dubey, Chairman of All India Power Engineers Federation, told Sputnik: "Due to the strike, the power generation in the government sector of Maharashtra has been greatly affected. Only 5,000 MW of power is being produced from power generation houses of 13,000 MW capacity."
"Power generation units of about 8000 MW capacity had to be shut down due to the employees going on strike which has a huge adverse effect on power distribution and power supply is almost closed in rural areas of Maharashtra," he added.
Dubey further noted that if Adani group is given a parallel licence, it will do cherry picking using the network of the state-owned company, snatching profitable industrial and commercial consumers from it.
"The result will be that the government company will become financially poor and the government company will neither have the money to buy electricity nor will it be able to provide electricity to the common poor consumers," he concluded.