UPPCL Strike: A total of 1,332 outsourced power staff at the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) were on Friday sacked by the authorities for participating in the strike.
Reason of Strike
The employees are demanding:
- regularisation of pay
- widening the scope of cashless treatment facility
- fulfilment of certain criteria for the chairman selection process
- regularisation of contract workers
Service of at least 550 employees of Purvanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam, 348 in Madhyanchal, 232 in Paschimanchal and 202 in Dakshinanchal was ended on the first day of the strike, UPPCL chairman M Devraj said. Apart from this, notices have also been served to the agencies. The chairman said that a First Information Report (FIR) has been lodged against the firm’s general manager and supervisors in many cities for not being able to make its employees available on duty amid the strike.
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation issued notices to 18 office-bearers of various organisations, including Shailendra Dubey, asking them to call off the strike immediately, citing the Allahabad High Court order. The energy minister, AK Sharma, had threatened earlier to invoke the National Security Act (NSA) if any discom property was found damaged during the strike.
According to the government, Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited is facing a direct loss of about Rs 150 crores every day. The appeal for the strike had come in the wake of the UP Rajya Vidyut Karmchari Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti’s call for a 72-hour strike from midnight of March 16 to press for the implementation of the December 3 agreement.
Govt orders arrest
Yogi Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party government has ordered the arrest of 22 leaders of Sangharsh Samiti including its convenor Shailendra Dubey. Action under the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) is to be initiated against them.
In response, UP Rajya Vidyut Karmchari Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti has decided to turn the three-day strike into an indefinite strike. The strike has affected thermal power generation and five units with an installed capacity of 1,850 MW were shut down.
Blaming the government for the strike, Dubey claimed the government in December last year had agreed to the change in the selection process of the chairman and the managing director of the power companies. He said as per the mutual consensus, it was decided that the chairman and the MD would be selected through a committee headed by the chief secretary. Even after three months of the decision, these posts are now being filled on the basis of transfers, Dubey said.
He added that apart from the selection of top officials, the government also agreed to the implementation of the Power Sector Employees’ Protection Act, stopping the outsourcing of operation and maintenance of power sub-stations for transmission, equal honorarium for different corporations and revision of allowances and removal of salary anomalies.
Hearing a PIL, a division bench comprising Justice Ashwani Kumar Mishra and Justice Vinod Diwaker directed that considering the urgency of the matter, bailable warrants be issued against the office bearers of the Vidyut Karmachari Sanyukt Sangarsh Samiti through its organiser Shailendra Dubey and several others, requiring their presence before the court at 10 am on March 20.
The court also directed the state authorities concerned to ensure that appropriate action as may be permissible by law be taken against the erring officials/employees to ensure compliance with the previous orders passed by the court on December 6, 2022. The order had directed that there will be no disruption of power supply in the state. Fixing March 20 as the next date, the court directed the state government to report compliance with the action taken in the matter by then.
Chakka Jam in Varanasi
The people of Varanasi took to the streets due to the continuous strike by the electricity department employees and long power cuts. The protesters also organised the Chakka Jam at the city’s Bhadaini power sub-station.