Recently, a lot of publicity was given to the new records created by Madhya Pradesh in the power sector. In a letter addressed to the Chief Minister and Energy Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh Vidyut Mandal Abhiyanta Sangh (MPVMAS) has highlighted grave challenges being faced by the electricity workers of Madhya Pradesh in the running of the record-breaking power infrastructure of Madhya Pradesh.
MPVMAS is the sole organization of engineers from assistant engineer to executive director. In the letter dated 27th July, MPVMAS has pointed out that across power generation, transmission and distribution, less than 35% of the sanctioned strength of workers and engineers are currently managing the massive power infrastructure which has increased many times over the years. This results in extreme stress due to overwork for all employees. In spite of repeated reminders and representations, the Madhya Pradesh government has refused to fill up the vacancies. However, the management takes immediate stern action against anybody for having committed the smallest of mistakes, which also occur mainly due to overwork. The management does not give any chance to workers to put forward their side of the story.
The letter further highlights that even those positions which become vacant due to retirement of employees are not being filled up, resulting in immense work pressure on existing engineers and officers. Due to such stressful working conditions, the number of accidents have also increased, the letter points out.
Management constantly talks about the need to reduce electricity losses, improve bill collection and improve the functioning of generation, transmission and distribution. But what is really needed to achieve all these objectives is to immediately fill up all the vacancies, as all inefficiencies are caused mainly by the extremely inadequate number of employed workers. If adequate manpower is made available, then these issues will be resolved quickly, the letter notes.
The issues affecting the Madhya Pradesh power sector are indeed the same as those affecting other power departments across the country. Blinded by the desire to make power generation, transmission and distribution “profit making businesses” instead of “fundamental service provisions for the people of the country”, the power ministries at the centre and in most of the states are pushing for policies such as reduction of manpower cost.
Power sector employees, unitedly with the working people of India, need to nip this “profit-making” paradigm in the bud.