Report received from Com. Krushna Bhoyar, Joint General Secretary, AIEEF and General Secretary, Maharashtra State Electricity Workers Federation (MSWEF)
The parliament is trying to pass the central government’s Electricity (Amendment) Bill (EAB) 2021 that aims to privatise the country’s electricity sector although power workers’ unions and associations have opposed it. To take a decision on this situation, a meeting of the office bearers of power workers’ organisations was held in Lucknow under the chairmanship of Coms. Sadruddin Rana, Mohammad Samimulla, Bharat Jha and Padma Reddy at Hotel Syona, Charbagh, Lucknow, on 26 and 27 February 2022.
Through the EAB 2021, the central government is trying to hand over the energy sector to corporate houses and franchisee companies. This privatisation is being done with the aim of increasing the profits of private companies, which will lead to an increase in electricity rates, and it will be difficult for common man to access electricity. After privatisation, the subsidy for farmers will be cancelled, and farmers will be unable to pay electricity bills. Today, the public sector supplies electricity at cheap prices to poor and socially disadvantaged consumers. This too will stop after privatisation. The elimination of cross subsidy will lead to a hike in electricity bills and increase the problems of common man.
In the last 70 years, the power sector has been developed using public money (tax), and assets worth lakhs of crores have been created. Through the EAB 2021, the central government wants to hand over these assets to Adani, Ambani, Tata and franchisee companies for mere pennies.
In the Lucknow meeting of All India Electricity Employees Federation (AIEEF), leaders from all states have strongly opposed the privatisation of the power sector. To protest against this policy of the central government and against the privatisation of all public sector industries of the country, AIEEF has decided to participate in the 2-day nationwide strike.
In this meeting, AIEEF also supported the decision of the ten central employees’ organisations of the country to organise a 2-day strike against the anti-worker policies and privatisation implemented by the central government. General Secretary Com. Mohan Sharma explained the policy of privatisation and the provisions of the EAB. After a discussion among the leaders from all states, the decision to participate in the strike was declared.