Kudos to the NCCOEEE for the successful organisation of country-wide Cease Work and for its decision to intensify the struggle against the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022!

 

By Sanjeewani Jain, Vice President, Lok Raj Sangathan

 

The National Co-ordination Committee of Electricity Employees & Engineers (NCCOEEE), the federations and unions in the electricity sector as well as the 10 lakh workers who responded to their call to “Cease Work” on the day the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022 (EAB 2022) was introduced in parliament, deserve to be congratulated for their hard- won victory. Such a call requires countless hours of determined work to meet with success. Congratulations are also due to organisations from other sectors as well as various consumers’ organisations that supported the electricity workers.

The EAB 2022 could not be steam rolled as the central government wanted to. It was forced to refer it to a Parliamentary Standing Committee. The NCCOEEE is not complacent, however and as publicised in the AIFAP website for instance, it has drawn up a plan to intensify the struggle and go among people to make them aware of the ill effects of the Bill on consumers. Why is this necessary?

It is necessary, because what the workers and we the people have really won is some respite before the government makes another attempt to pass the Bill, at the best with some minor changes. Parliamentary Standing Committees usually consists of MPs of both the ruling and opposition parties. These committees review the Bills in closed door meetings with experts who work to promote the interests of capitalist monopolies, both Indian and foreign. The views of workers and peasants are seldom considered.

It is evident that opposition parties cannot be trusted. We can give endless examples of how they shout and create a lot of noise in favour of the people when they are in the opposition, but do exactly the opposite when they get to form the government. In the case of electricity itself, when the foreign monopoly Enron was ushered in by the then Congress government in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena had made lot of noise before the state elections about throwing it into the sea. When it came to power it welcomed Enron.

Likewise, recently, when tens of thousands of people were opposing the entry of the private company Torrent into electricity distribution in the suburbs of Thane, the NCP jumped into the protest. After elections, when it shared power with the Shiv Sena, Torrent was handed over whatever it wanted.

In the case of the EAB 2022, the opinions of the farmers as well as electricity and other workers are there before the world. The kisans struggled for over a year and 700 of them were martyred in the fight against the anti-people Farm Laws as well as the EAB. The government had to concede their demands in writing.

Now the government is going back on its promise made to the farmers. There is no mechanism in our “democracy” that enables us to hold the government accountable, even to implement its written promise!

We are happy that the electricity workers are preparing to step up their struggle despite the decision to refer the Bill to a Parliamentary Standing Committee. We workers from other sectors as well as consumers at large have to support them!

 

 

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