Power engineers to observe 'protest day'

NEW DELHI: The All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) on Friday said that electricity engineers will observe protest day on August 18 to oppose Electricity Amendment Bill, 2020 and proposed privatisation of discoms. "Power sector engineers will observe countrywide protest day on August 18 seeking withdrawal of Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and to oppose privatisation of electricity distribution in union territories, UP Purbanchal (Varanasi) and Odisha (CESU)," AIPEF spokesperson V K Gupta said. This decision is in line with the online meeting of National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees and Engineers (NCCOEEE), presided over by All India Federation of Electricity Employees president Mohan Sharma and held on August 4, 2020, the statement said. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Power had circulated the draft Electricity Amendment Bill, 2020 for feedback. Besides, the government had announced its decision to privatise discoms in union territories and some states. Gupta said the power ministry failed to convince 11 states and two union territories in the power ministers' conference held on July 3. The power ministry was to place a modified draft of the Bill but even after one month the Government of India is going ahead with its plan of privatisation of power distribution wing of union territories, it added. The AIPEF has already written to the ministry to publish the modified version of the Bill, keeping the same for comments in the public domain for a reasonable period of time. The NCCOEEE will write to the Chief Ministers of 11 states and two union territories who opposed the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020, seeking their continued support in the struggle to keep access to electricity for all at an affordable cost. The meeting noted with serious dismay that K K Malik in his capacity as General Secretary of Haryana Power Engineers Association wrote to appropriate authority to oppose irregularity, the statement said. The Haryana government has suspended him from his substantive post without assigning any charge, it added. All the constituents of employee unions and state engineers associations will write to the Haryana Chief Minister, protesting the unlawful suspension urging his intervention towards the immediate withdrawal of suspension, the statement said. It may be mentioned that all the engineers and employees observed June 1 as National Protest Day across the country and the national media highlighted the adverse implication of the proposed legislation, it added.