Press Note issued by Com. Krishna Bhoyar, General Secretary Maharashtra State Electricity Workers Federation and National Secretary, All India Federation of Electricity Employees
Press Note Mumbai dated 17.10.2022
Workers Federation Organization will oppose giving license to Adani to supply electricity in Thane, Navi Mumbai, Panvel and Uran areas.
Currently, various newspapers and news channels are reporting that Adani Power Electrical Company has sought a parallel license to supply electricity in the areas of Thane, Navi Mumbai, Uran and Panvel in Bhandup Circle, which is being supplied by the state-owned Mahavitaran Company. In the Times of India edition dated 15.10.2022 has reported elaborately about it. On behalf of the Maharashtra State Electricity Workers Federation, an application will be filed with the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission for not granting parallel permission to Adani to supply electricity in the above area.
The experience has not been good. In the year 2005, after the heavy rains on 26th July 2005, the entire power supply was interrupted in Mumbai and the surrounding areas. The electricity supply of the Mahavitaran Company was in the suburbs of Mumbai, where the employees, engineers and officers of the company restored the interrupted power supply within 24 hours. Its efficiency was demonstrated to the entire electricity consumer. However, Tata and BSES, which supplied electricity in Mumbai, could not do it and the officials of the Mahavitaran Company had to go and restore the electricity supply there.
In the year 2003, the then central government brought into force the new Electricity Act-2003. Under this act there was a responsibility to supply electricity to all electricity consumers at full pressure without load shedding, to provide electricity at low rates, to complete hundred percent electrification, to provide 24-hour electricity supply to agricultural consumers. That was the focus of the new law. In the year 2003, all the electricity boards in the country were divided and corporatized by the new law. After the corporatization, more opportunities for the appointment of IAS officers became available. Even after 19 years of electricity act, the focus set by the previous and present governments in making the new law has not been achieved.
Franchising and privatization were first done in Odisha state by the 2003 Act. There the private player ran away and the government had to build all the lines and restore the power supply. The first blow of privatization fell on the Odisha government. The reality is that the private franchise model has failed in states like Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh etc.
Electricity Boards were created on the principle of neither profit nor loss for the overall development of the country. The capitalists coming into the power industry will have the objective of making profit and will try to earn profit by taking over the parts in which there is profit. The responsibility of the government-owned public distribution companies will remain as it is. The government’s announcement of free electricity, the policy of giving various concessions are the reasons due to which the government distribution companies are in financial trouble. During the lockdown, the electricity consumers’ meters could not be read and the electricity bills were not available to the consumers on time. Due to this, the electricity consumers stopped paying the bill. The distribution companies were more affected. There has been a huge increase in the arrears. Government distribution companies need to be given financial support by central and state governments. However, the government ignores them, so the financial situation of government power companies is deteriorating day by day. If the profitable distribution part is given to private capitalists, government power companies will fall into more financial difficulties. Electricity supply to consumers, farmers, power-looms, public offices, water supply, public sector and areas where private electricity companies are not ready to distribute electricity will remain under the control of government distribution companies.
After concluding that public power distribution companies are not capable of efficient distribution, the private capitalists will take over the entire sector and after taking over, they will increase the price of electricity massively. It is important to note. public assets of electricity companies worth billions of rupees raised from the money paid as taxes by the people of the country and they will be sold to private entrepreneurs at throwaway prices. Common people should also think about it; our country is currently moving towards capitalism.
On August 8, 2022, the central government presented a new bill for discussion in the Lok Sabha, despite strong opposition from the Chief Ministers of 13 states of the country, thousands of stakeholders, 500 farmers’ associations, 10 central labour unions, over 1.5 lakh workers, and electricity workers’ unions led by the engineers and officers. Currently, the proposed Electricity Act-2022 has been sent to the Standing Committee of the Lok Sabha for study.
Before passing the amended Electricity Act-2022 in Parliament, the Government of Uttaranchal tried to privatize it there. The labour unions there went on strike and stopped the attempt. Another attempt was made in Chandigarh. The trade union protested. It could not be defeated because of it is under the rule of the central government. The third attempt was made in Kashmir and that was defeated by a united strike. The process of privatization of power industry has been started in all Union Territories.
Even prior to binging new law the policy of privatization of this system has been launched by the central government. Once the law is passed, the power sector will be completely handed over to private capitalists and destroyed. This should be considered by the general public and crores of electricity consumers in the country. Consumers can seek justice today from the state government and the Electricity Regulatory Commission, the Grievance Redressal Forum. However, there is no provision for seeking justice in the new law. The power to determine electricity rates will be under the central government. There will be no subsidy and free electricity. There will be no permanent labour recruitment. Private capitalists will adopt the method of exploiting the workers by recruiting contract workers. The workers, officers and engineers who are currently working will not have the protection of salary and allowances after privatization. There will be no reservation in jobs. Power companies have crores of rupees worth of land. The land will be sold to the them at a low price. This is new law will adversely affect the people of the state.
Taking advantage of the electricity act of 2003, Adani Power Electrical has sought a license to supply electricity in Navi Mumbai area where electricity is supplied to farmers too. Industrial estates will come up in Thane, Navi Mumbai, Uran and Panvel area on a large scale. Adani is going to supply electricity to these estates, that is, it will choose the area of profit. People of Maharashtra, electricity consumers, farmers and electricity workers’ organizations should stop this.
On 23 November 2022 15 lakh electricity staff, engineers and officers will hold a dharna at Jantar Mantar in Delhi against the new law under the leadership of National Co-Ordination Committee Electricity Employee and Engineers. The general public should be contacted to save the industry, farmers and the workers’ unions.
Comrade Krishna Bhoyar
General Secretary, Maharashtra State Electricity Workers Federation
National Secretary, All India Federation of Electricality Employees