Report prepared by Kamgar Ekta Committee (KEC) correspondent based on inputs received from Shri Sachin Tickoo, President, Jammu and Kashmir Electrical Engineering Graduates Association
The Jammu and Kashmir Electrical Engineering Graduates Association (JKEEGA), representing all the engineers from Chief Engineers to Junior engineers working in the Power Development Department (PDD) of J&K, has given notice to the administration of J&K that they shall be taking one day protest leave from mid night of 8th September to mid night of 9th September 2023. They have declared that on 9th September they will be holding peaceful protest outside PDD offices in Jammu and Srinagar. They have organized this united protest action in support of their long pending demands of regularization, timely promotions, recruitment at junior engineer level and filling up of hundreds of vacant positions.
In a letter addressed to the Principal Secretary of PDD dated 24th August, and to the Lieutenant Governor of J&K dated 28th August the engineers have highlighted their plight and just demands. (please see the letters below)
The letters highlight the fact that there are more than 700 vacancies of engineers from the level of Chief Engineer to Junior Engineer, which is not only impacting implementation of various Power Development projects and regular service to the power consumers but also creating extreme stress on the current employees. The Executive Engineers are being burdened with charge of two to three divisions spanning across various districts. Assistant Executive Engineers and Junior Engineers are being burdened to the extreme since they have been assigned multiple charge and 15-20 feeders on an average. The regularization of power engineers has been pending since many decades. The then State Administrative Council of J&K on 22nd Oct, 2019 approved the regularization proposal of power engineers and directed that the process be completed by 30.11.2019. However, even after three and a half years, the implementation of the decision is yet to see the light of the day!
JKEEGA has also highlighted the fact that the Government has not fulfilled commitments made under the legal framework of the agreement even after more than 32 months have elapsed. The said agreement dated 21st December 2021 was signed between representatives of the Government and the representatives of the power sector employees after 4 days of their struggle. (see the agreement below). Since 2016 hardly any new recruitments have been done even at junior engineer levels.
The Government of J&K is following the vicious time tested policy which various governments routinely follow to crush the just struggles of the working people.
Step 1 – Firstly they try to prevent workers from carrying our any agitations by citing various service conditions or by threatening them with strict actions or by clamping down draconian acts like Essential Services Maintenance Act etc. Simultaneously they try to divide the working people on the basis of religion, caste or organization. They also try to prevent workers working in senior positions like General Managers, Chief Engineers etc. from joining such agitations by stating that “you are not workers and hence you cannot unionize”, etc.
Step 2 – By using capitalist controlled media governments launch vicious campaign against the workers by painting them as “selfish” and “against the interests of people” etc. and try to create a rift between the fighting workers and general population.
Step 3 – If workers still manage to start a united struggle, then the government will make a big show of constituting some committees to “look into their grievances”. If strength of agitating workers is very high, such committees even give assurances and even sign agreements thus convincing workers to stop their agitation.
Step 4 – They just ignore the signed agreements, which was their plan to start with in any case!
Workers are again forced to relaunch their struggle.
Power sector workers of J&K, U.P., M.P., Maharashtra, Puducherry, A.P., Karnataka have all faced this situation.
J&K power sector workers are bravely fighting unitedly. Not only all engineers up to Chief Engineer level but workers of entire Power sector of J&K have unitedly constituted JK Power Employees and Engineers Coordination Committee (JKPEECC) of the PDD. Apart from J&K Electrical Engineering Graduates Association it includes Provincial Power Employees Union, Technical Employees Federation, Ashiq Hussain Lineman and Workers Union, J&K Non-Gazetted Electrical Employees Union, Clerical Association and Drivers Union. All the constituents of JKPEECC have declared their unconditional support to the call of protest leave on 9th September. J&K power sector employees have enjoyed the support of working people of J&K even for their past struggles and have been able to prevent privatisation of electricity transmission.
All the constituents of AIFAP will surely extend their full support to the just struggle of J&K power sector engineers!
Uplaod.JKEEGA PS PDD 24.08.2023 protest notice
Upload.JKEEGA letter to Lt.Governor