Report of Kamgar Ekta Committee (KEC) correspondent
On July 21, 2023, thousands of citizens in Bhiwandi city of Maharashtra, united under the banner of “Torrent Atyachaar Virodhi Jan Sangharsh Samiti” (People’s Struggle Committee Against Atrocities of Torrent), raised the slogan “Torrent Hatao Bhiwandi Bachao.” Despite heavy rainfall, thousands of people from rural, tribal and urban areas participated in this morcha to show their outrage. Women and youth participated in large numbers. The morcha revealed the anger of the citizens troubled by the following atrocities of the company: extorting money from customers by imposing arbitrary electricity rates, filing false cases of power theft with the help of police and spreading panic, installing fast running meters without checking, handing over bills that are double the usual amount without taking readings, forcibly collecting money over false bills, not giving reports of checking of meters, adopting a disrespectful and dictatorial attitude towards customers, etc. Many leaders made angry and rousing speeches against Torrent. Many women speakers also participated in this.
Since 2007, the Torrent company has been entrusted with the distribution of electricity in Bhiwandi by the State Government of Maharashtra. Even at that time, many people strongly opposed this decision of the government. To justify its move, the government had said that such privatization would lead to better electricity facilities for the general public of Bhiwandi. However, in reality, the problems of the citizens of Bhiwandi increased manifold. Even before this, the citizens of Bhiwandi have raised their voice against Torrent several times, but this time, the resistance has been very strong. The Bhiwandi-based representatives of different political parties have long ignored this problem. Their attitude has also increased the anger of the residents of Bhiwandi.
This clearly shows how every government that has come to power has always supported privatization, which is an anti-people, anti-worker, pro-capitalist policy. Every government first introduced private players in the power sector in different ways and then started handing over the power system built with the sweat and blood of the people to the private capitalists.
Many speakers declared that if the atrocities of Torrent are not stopped before the 2024 elections and Torrent is not driven out of Bhiwandi, then even more agitations will be organized and no MLA, MP, corporator etc. will be allowed in the city.
Electricity employees and consumers have been protesting against the Maharashtra government’s plan to hand over power distribution to privately owned companies in the main cities of the state. Their struggle will definitely gain strength from this fierce movement against Torrent.
Organizations like Kamgar Ekta Committee, Maharashtra State Electricity Workers Federation, Center of Indian Trade Unions, All India Trade Union Congress and All India Trade Union Center and others supported this movement. A joint leaflet of these organizations was distributed in thousands.
Bhiwandi anti torrent handbill english