Oppose the Maharashtra Government’s nefarious plans to privatise electricity distribution in 16 major cities of the state!

Report by KEC correspondent

It is learnt that the Maharashtra government is planning to privatise electricity distribution in 16 big cities of the state. This is bound to lead to further increase in already high electricity rates. Both electricity workers and consumers need to unitedly fight against this anti-people, anti-worker plan.

The Central Government led by the BJP has been trying to pass the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2021 which would lead to the privatisation of electricity distribution in the country. Their attempts so far have been thwarted by the united opposition of electricity workers and farmers. Many state governments have also been trying to privatise electricity distribution selectively in their respective states. In the three largest cities of the country, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, electricity distribution is already in private hands.

Mumbai, the so-called financial capital of the country is also the capital of Maharashtra and consumers there pay one of the highest rates in the country for electric power. Now it seems that the Maharashtra government led by Mahavikas Aghadi (the coalition of Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP) wants to do “Mahavikas” (Great Development) of the 16 other big cities of the state by privatising electricity distribution there. It is learnt that among others, three big monopolies, Adani Power, Tata Power, and Torrent have been licking their lips in anticipation of the humongous profits they can grab from Pune, Thane, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Nashik, Bhandup, Kalyan, Solapur, Kolhapur, Latur, Akola, etc.

Cities are the most profitable – there are more consumers in a given area and the rates are higher. Mahavitaran, (MSEDCL or the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company) has about 2.5 crore customers. It is understood that the companies have already started their surveys about the number of consumers, the number of units used, etc.

Electricity Workers in Maharashtra are also gearing up to thwart the plans of the capitalists and the governments that dance to their tune. As reported earlier, 26 unions and associations of employees, engineers and officers from the electricity sector have come together in the Maharashtra Rajya Veej Kamgar, Abhiyante, Adhikari Sangharsh Samiti (Maharashtra State Electricity Workers, Engineers, Officers Sangharsh Samiti) and drawn up a plan for a big struggle. Their demonstrations on 16th February have already been reported. Opposing privatisation is one of their major demands.

Huge demonstration of the 96,000 electricity workers, engineers and officers of Maharashtra against the policy of the central and state governments to privatise electricity companies

Com Krushna Bhoyar’s speech at the demonstration of electricity workers at the gate meeting in Thane on 16th Feb 2022

Protest gate meeting held at Mahavitaran Rasta Peth, Pune

The Central Government has also issued orders to privatise electricity distribution in all Union Territories as they are directly ruled by the Central Government. Workers realise that it is very important to draw the people at large to their side and they are preparing to launch an awareness program. The recent example of Jammu and Kashmir is extremely inspiring as well as educative. The awareness program of the J & K workers was so effective that the people of the Union Territory were firmly at their side, braving even sub zero temperatures and the threat of force.

The Central Government’s attempts in Puducherry have also been defeated by the combined opposition of workers’ unions and federations as well as by people’s organisations. In UP also the workers had managed to thwart privatisation. In both these places, the support of the NCCOEEE (National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees and Engineers) and its leadership were important.

Spirited strike of electricity employees of Puducherry and support of TNEBA led to stoppage of privatisation in Puducherry

One more victory of electricity employees and engineers in stopping privatisation! Strike of Puducherry Power Employees & Engineers forces the government not to go ahead with privatisation

Electricity workers of Chandigarh have launched a struggle with the support of people’s organisations to stop the sale of their Electricity Department. Incidentally, Chandigarh has one of the lowest rates for power in the country and has been consistently profitable as well.

Understanding that workers in one public sector or government department are consumers as far as other sectors are concerned, various constituents of AIFAP are also gearing up to support the electricity workers of Maharashtra when they come on the roads for public awareness as well as agitation. “An attack on One is an attack on All!”

We are confident that the Government of Maharashtra, like its counterparts in other states, will have no option but to bow before the united might of the workers and people!

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2 years ago

We as masses need to join our forces with electricity employees to stop the privatization of this public sector unit. With our hard earned money, it is the capitalist class of this country that has flourished every day while majority of us keep toiling to provide basic necessities to our families. The government has absolutely no right to touch any of these PSUs and sell it to Tatas, Birlas and Ambanis.
I salute the employees from Puducherry and Chandigarh who have joined forces with the masses and are fighting against this unjust step taken by the government and forced the government to step back.
Together we have the strength to bring down this exploitative system run by the capitalist class and replace it with a system ruled by the toiling masses that will ensure prosperity and safety for everyone!