Report by Kamgar Ekta Committee (KEC) correspondent
The power sector reforms planned by the Central Government will lead to removing subsidies for electricity. This move is a step towards privatisation of this immensely vital essential sector. No capitalist would provide subsidy to anyone, and he would try to charge the maximum possible rates, thus driving this vital necessity out of reach of crores of people. It will hurt not only farmers but also the crores of self-employed people, using power to earn their livelihood, and their families as well as those below the poverty line.
Consumers’ protests against this cruel plan of the government have already started. On Monday, 14th February, Hyderabad, the capital of Telangana state, witnessed a number of protests in different parts. Barbers and washermen had realised that they would be badly hit by the power sector reforms that the Central Government is trying hard to implement. It is planning to install meters and remove the subsidies as a part of the reforms.
As of now the Telangana government gives free power up to 250 units to barber shops, dhobi ghats and laundries. 32,000 salons in the state were benefitting from this. Likewise, the State government was extending 50,000 free power meters to dhobi ghats and laundries. If these numbers are added up, it will be seen that the reforms would adversely affect lakhs of people constituting the families of barbers and dhobis in just one state of Telangana.
Shri K Srinivas, the co-convenor of the State Washermens’ Association said that protests would be staged at village, mandal and district levels on Sunday, 20th February against the power reforms. Shri Rasamalla Balakrishna, the president of the Barber Community State Association requested all the members of his association to make every customer aware of the Centre’s plans. During the meeting, it was resolved that everyone would wear black badges and not allow BJP leaders for haircut in protest against the power reforms.
It is encouraging that different sections of people, the consumers are being made aware that they would be hurt badly if the power sector reforms are implemented. These different streams of people’s opposition should join the river of workers’ opposition to ensure that power sector reforms that are intended to implement privatisation are halted!