Report by Kamgar Ekta Committee (KEC) correspondent
In response to the call given earlier by National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees and Engineers (NCCOEEE), Maharashtra Rajya Veej Karmchari, Adhikari, Abhiyanta Sangharsh Samiti (Maharashtra State Electricity Workers, Officers, Engineers Sangharsh Samiti) organized a militant meeting, on August 8, in the afternoon, in front of the Electricity Office in Rasta Peth in Pune. Several hundred employees including workers, engineers and officers from various facilities related to the electricity sector in and around Pune participated in the meeting.
The meeting started with popular slogans (halla-bol, Hum sub ek hain, hamari union hamari takat, mazdoor ekta zindabad and inqilab zindabad), protesting against the introduction of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022 in the parliament and hailing the unity and determination of workers to defeat the sinister designs of those in power.
Several speakers including Mr Sunil Jagtap, Senior Vice Chairman, All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF), Mr Kedar Relekar, President, Subordinate Engineers Association (MSEB), Mr Ishwar Wable, Joint Secretary, Maharashtra State Electricity Workers Federation (MSEWF), Mr. Dattatreya Gosavi, President, Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), Pune and Dr Pradip, Kamgar Ekta Committee, addressed the meeting.
The speakers explained in detail the dangerous consequences of the latest version of the Electricity Amendment Bill 2022, introduced in the parliament. If it passed it will result in rise of power tariff for the consumers and thus deprive many of our fellow citizens in India, the basic access to electricity, which is our fundamental right. Providing access to electricity to all in India is a service, an obligation rather than a means of deriving maximum profits. It was also pointed out that privatization of electricity sector is part of the agenda of the Indian monopoly capitalists launched in 1991 as globalization through liberalization and privatization and it is anti-people, anti-worker and anti-national. 27 Lakh workers of electricity sector have come together and they are trying to build unity with workers and unions of other sectors under attack, to fight against this latest attack on all.
It was also pointed out that we need to take this important message to all that our struggle is to defend the basic right to access to electricity for all in India. We can win this battle if all of us unite and fight, mobilising other workers and users to our cause. The basic infrastructure in the country has been built by the blood and sweat of workers like us and it is public property which should serve the interests of all, rather than become the means of profiteering by a few monopoly capitalists. We have to create conditions in our country so that people do have a decisive say in decision-making and so that such anti-people decisions cannot be taken by the state.
The popular booklet brought out by the All India Forum Against Privatization (AIFAP) – “Why monetization, corporatization and privatization are harmful for you?” in three different languages was also distributed amongst the participants.
All present resolved to fight and win their just battle against the privatization agenda being pursued by the Indian state which only serves the interests of Indian monopoly capitalists.