By Shri Samiulla, Deputy General Secretary, All India Federation of Electricity Employees (AIFEE)
Dear Friends, All Respected Pensioners,
It looks as if the central Government is determined to pass the Electricity Amendment Bill 2022. In this regard a few opposition MPs met parliamentary Affairs Minister Shri Prahlad Joshi. During the discussion these MPs demanded that this bill should be referred to the Parliamentary Business Advisory Committee, and to the Parliamentary Select Committee for detailed discussion, but it did not yield any positive result. if the electricity work force takes this lightly it will be like they are digging their own grave.
Now let me come to the pensioners’ story. So far the pensioners are getting their pensions, terminal benefits, post-retirement benefits in some states promptly on time and in some states belatedly. We pensioners shouldn’t be under the illusion that the respective governments are very happy in providing these benefits to lakhs and lakhs of employees. In many cases the pensions are much more than the salaries of regular officers and engineers. To stop this pension scheme, they brought NPS.
At present we have seen that the electricity discoms are forced to borrow from banks to fulfil terminal benefits and regular pensions and in some cases even to pay monthly salary to employees. Also, they are taking overdrafts. In the worst scenario, we are already told that private companies will not take the responsibility of pension or that the government will go back on its promise of paying pension as has happened in many cases. This government, using its strength in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha can do anything. They are anti-working class, anti-people, anti-poor and are pro-capitalists.
In this situation if pensioners behave in such a manner as if nothing bad will happen to us, definitely we are living in a fool’s paradise. We pensioners of electricity sector are almost equal in number compared with our present working work force. For our nearly 35-40 years of sweat, hard work, service and with our own pensionary contribution, while in service, the government is bound to pay pension. It is not a charity for us.
Anyway we should not be under the false impression that nothing will happen to us. This Bill is more dangerous for pensioners as we are old, not employable and also can’t fight vigorously as can our young workforce of our sector. The need of the hour is to come out from the houses and join in more numbers with the young energetic employees, officers and engineers.
I specially request all our retired union leaders who during their regime enjoyed board directorships, thousands of garlands, shawls, bouquets, board cars, perks, respect, honours, now the time has come to get down to ground level to lead the young leaders to save this sector. Otherwise, it will be taken for granted that at the time of necessity, you are running away from responsibility though you already enjoyed bygone luxury of your past union Darbar. I request not only the retired pensioners but also their families, kith and kin to join this war because what they are today is due to their parents’ income from power sector. The families also owe something in return to save this sector
Deputy General Secretary, AIFEE