On 6th October 2021, Maharashtra State Electricity Workers, Officers, Engineers Sangharsh Samiti sent a memorandum to Maharashtra State Power Minister, Dr. Nitin Raut. The state government wants to split the existing Mahavitaran company, MSEDCL into 4 different companies. The memorandum declares that this intention is nothing but a hidden agenda of implementing Central government scheme of privatising electricity distribution. All the electricity sector workers, engineers and officers’ organizations will unitedly oppose such a disastrous move, declared the memorandum.
Here below are the salient points of the memorandum, translated from Marathi.
On 6th October 2021, Maharashtra State Electricity Workers, Officers, Engineers Sangharsh Samiti sent a memorandum to Maharashtra State Power Minister, Dr. Nitin Raut.
The memorandum refers to a serious discussion held by the Chief Minister of Maharashtra on 14th September 2021 with the Power Minister and senior officials of power ministry regarding solutions to overcome economic crisis being faced by Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) due to around Rs. 74,000 crore outstanding bill payments.
The memorandum points out that out of the total outstanding bills, approximately Rs. 50,000 crores are due from farmers for use of pumps, about Rs. 2,260 crores are due from public water supply departments and about Rs. 6,271 crores from various local bodies for street lighting. This means that approximately Rs. 58,000 crores or almost 78% of the total outstanding is related with and due to state government policies. To ensure that this amount is given to MSEDCL is the responsibility of the state government and not of MSEDCL, the memorandum points out. Pointing out that the farmers in the state are going through a serious crisis due to natural calamities and hence cannot be expected to pay the outstanding bills the memorandum demands that Maharashtra State Government should pay MSEDCL and square off the outstanding amount. Similarly, Maharashtra State government should square off outstanding amount which is due from various government departments and government bodies like Gram Panchayats, Zilla Parishads, Nagarpalikas and Mahanagarpalikas, demands the memorandum. By taking this step MSEDCL can be pulled out from the economic crisis that it is facing. The memorandum also reemphasises the commitment of MSEDCL employees towards collection of outstanding dues from residential, industrial and commercial consumers amounting to Rs. 3,264 crores, Rs. 2,900 crores and Rs. 822 crores respectively. MSEDCL employees are sweating it out to collect these dues but the numbers are mysteriously rising and hence the inflated outstanding amount needs to be reverified and MSEDCL should publish a white paper covering expenses and bill collection, demands the memorandum.
After the meeting with Chief Minister the Power Minister has reportedly declared his intention of splitting the existing Mahavitaran company, MSEDCL into 4 different companies. The memorandum declares that this intention is nothing but a hidden agenda of implementing Central government scheme of privatising electricity distribution. The memorandum points out as to how in the past privatising of electricity distribution in Nagpur, Aurangabad, Jalgaon and Mula-Pravara was a complete disaster. Not only the consumers suffered a lot due to sub-standard service provided by private franchisees but even MSEDCL had to spend huge amount of money to bring back the situation to normal.
The memorandum further warns that if MSEDCL is split into 4 companies then it will spoil the industrial peace in the power industry for which the Maharashtra government will be solely responsible. All the electricity sector workers, engineers and officers organizations will unitedly oppose such a disastrous move, declared the memorandum. The electricity sector workers, engineers and officials are of course concerned and hence willing to work whole heartedly to take MSEDCL out of the crisis, but they will not tolerate if the crisis is used as an excuse to privatise electricity distribution, warns the memorandum.
The memorandum is signed by Com. Krushna Bhoyar (General Secretary of Maharashtra Electricity Workers federation) , Shri Sanjay Thakur (General Secretary Subordinate Engineers Association), Shri Shankar Pahad (General Secretary, Maharashtra Vij Kamgaar Mahasangh- BMS), Shri Rajan Bhanushali (President Vij Karmchari Adhikar Abhiyanta Sena), Shri P.B.Uke (President, Swabhimani Workers Union), Shri Sunil Pathak (President, M. Ra. Vi. Adhikari Sanghatana), Shri Dattatray Gute (Chief Secretary, Maharashtr Rajy Vij Kamgar Congress- INTUC), Shri Suyog Jhute (Graduate Engineers Association) and other office bearers of unions and associations representing operators, drivers, cleaners, class IV workers, and other officers, and engineers.