Statement of All India Federation of Electricity Employees (AIFEE)
Electricity employees and engineers held a massive demonstration and rally at Jantar Mantar in Delhi today in protest against the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022 and for the restoration of old pension, for integration of electricity companies and for regularization of contract workers by ending outsourcing. More than 1 lakh employees, engineers and officers from different states across the country participated in the demonstration at Jantar Mantar.
On the call of the National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees and Engineers (NCCOEEE), lakhs of electricity employees and engineers organized a massive rally and protest demonstration at Jantar Mantar. This demonstration was addressed by national leaders of electricity employees and engineers, mainly Shailendra Dubey, Mohan Sharma, Prashant Nandi Chowdhary, Krushna Bhoyar, RK Trivedi, Kuldeep Kumar, P Ratnakar Rao, Abhimanyu Dhankar, Padmajit Singh, Samar Sinha, RK Sharma, K Ashok Rao, and Mrs. Jayanthi.
Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Members of Parliament E. Karim (M.P.), R. Krishnaiah (M.P.), D. Raja (former M.P. and National General Secretary of Communist Party of India), Tapan Sen (former M.P.), Hannan Mollah, leader of Samyukta Kisan Morcha, Com Sukumar Damle, National Secretary of All India Trade Union Congress and Gaurav Maheshwari of Aam Aadmi Party addressed the rally and strongly supported the andolan of electricity workers.
By passing a resolution in the rally, a warning was given to the Central Government that if any unilateral attempt is made to pass the bill in the parliament without taking electricity workers into confidence, then all electricity workers and engineers across the country will be forced to go on an indefinite strike, of which the entire responsibility will be of the Central Government.
Senior leaders of electricity workers and engineers said that the Lok Sabha has sent the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022 to the Standing Committee on Energy of the Parliament, but the Standing Committee has not yet discussed it with the electricity workers and common consumers. They said that any one-sided action to get the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022 passed in Parliament without taking the electricity workers and engineers into confidence will be strongly opposed and all the 27 lakh electricity workers and engineers of the country will be forced to go on a nationwide strike.
The National Coordination Committee has also appealed to all the Chief Ministers of the country to strongly oppose the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022 in the larger interest of the energy sector and electricity consumers. Chief Ministers of 13 states, organizations of electricity employees, organizations of electricity consumers and more than 500 farmer organizations have opposed the new bill.
Com Mohan Sharma, National General Secretary of All India Federation of Electricity Employees, said that after last year’s Kisan Andolan, the Central Government had given written assurance in a letter to the Samyukta Kisan Morcha that the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022 will not be placed in Parliament without taking all stakeholders into confidence. He said that the biggest stakeholders in the electricity sector are the consumers of electricity and the employees of electricity. Till date, the Central Government and the Union Ministry of Power have neither held any talks with the consumer organizations of electricity nor with any organization of electricity employees on the amendments proposed through the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022.
He said that the talk of giving choice to consumers through the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022 is completely wrong. In fact, through this amendment, the central government is going to provide electricity supply to private households through the network of government electricity distribution for electricity distribution. Government corporations of electricity have set up a network of transmission and distribution of electricity by spending billions of rupees and government corporations are spending crores of rupees every month on its maintenance. Through this bill, the government intends to give exemption to private households to use this network.
The talk about giving choice to consumers is completely wrong because according to this bill, only government corporations will be required to supply electricity to all. Private sector power companies will use the government network to supply electricity only to profitable industrial and commercial consumers. In this way, the work of providing electricity to loss-making domestic consumers and consumers in rural areas will remain only with the government electricity distribution company. Due to this, the public sector power distribution companies will become completely bankrupt and they will not have the necessary funds even to buy power.
He further said that through this amendment bill, electricity is not going to become cheaper for the common consumer in any way. The main reason for this is that 80% to 85% of the cost of electricity is the cost of power purchase and the power purchase agreement is made for 25 years. Therefore, there will be no reduction in the cost of power purchase. It is clear that the public is being deceived by talking about competition.
He said that before making any new amendment to the Electricity Act 2003, it is necessary to analyse the failure of privatization in Orissa and the failure of power distribution franchises given to the private sector at many places in the country. Private sector franchises have proved unsuccessful even in profitable urban areas. Now, the central government wants to impose this failed experiment on the general public through the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022, which will never be accepted.
Mohan Sharma, National General Secretary – 9823819531
Krushna Bhoyar, National Secretary – 9930003608
All India Federation of Electricity Employees