Second massive rally of electricity workers against privatisation organised in Chandigarh

Strike on 1, 7, 23 and 24 February to oppose privatisation

Report by Kamgar Ekta Committee correspondent

 

On 24 January, on the call of the Union Territory Powermen’s Union, the electricity employees of Chandigarh organised a second massive rally against the decision of the central government to privatise the electricity department of Chandigarh and hand it over to Eminent company. Employees participated in this rally in large numbers despite continuous rain for several days. During the rally, a memorandum was given to the Governor of Punjab and Administrator of Chandigarh to cancel the planned privatisation.

While addressing the rally, Union President Dhyan Singh, General Secretary Gopal Dutt Joshi, Senior Vice President Amrik Singh, Gurmeet Singh, Ranjit Singh and Swarna Singh said that the central government and Chandigarh administration have infringed the order of the Hon’ble Punjab and Haryana High Court on 16 February 2021 in which the High Court had clearly stated that any decision and action taken by the administration would depend on the final decision of the High Court. It is very wrong that the administration ignored this order and invited finance bids. The central government has consented to sell the electricity department to Eminent company although the High Court has not announced its final decision and the next court hearing is on 10 March.

The speakers at the rally demanded that the government and administration should formulate a transfer policy before taking any decision, and they should invite objections and suggestions from all stakeholders, including employees. The administration should notify the transfer policy and retain all service conditions, pension, gratuity and all allowances of government employees and drop the idea of forming a trust by maintaining the GPF and treasury system.

The speakers again emphasised that the administration should stop privatisation till the transfer policy is notified and the court’s decision is announced.

Worker leaders stressed that after privatisation, the general public of Chandigarh will have to pay expensive bills because the electricity rate of the private company fixed by the government is more than twice the rate of Chandigarh. Therefore, all political parties, trade unions and mohalla committees should strongly oppose the policy of privatisation.

CITU Chandigarh President Gurdeep Singh, Treasurer Kuldeep Singh, Federation of UT Employees Union President Raghbir Chand, Horticulture President Harkesh Chand, Bihari Lal from ICCW, Prempal from ROD, Harkesh Rana from Punjab Board Corporation Federation, Tara Singh, Joginder Singh Rana and others addressed the rally. They supported the demands of the electricity employees and demanded the administration to stop the illegally started privatisation immediately.

In view of the obstinate attitude of the government, a complete strike on 1, 7, 23 and 24 February was announced. It was also declared that the central government and Chandigarh administration would be responsible for the inconvenience caused to the general public due to the strike.

 

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