People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 19, 2006
Electricity Act 2003
Employees March To Parliament
NEARLY 10,000 electricity employees, representing almost all the states of India, assembled at Tagore road near Ram Lila maidan and marched to parliament on March 1, 2006 under the banner of National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees & Engineers (NCCOEEE), demanding the review of Electricity Act 2003. The march was stopped by the police at Jantar Mantar, where the rally turned into a public meeting, which adopted a resolution.
The resolution was moved by E Balanandan, president of Electricity Employees Federation of India and Akthar Hussain, president of Akhil Bharateeya Vidyuth Mazdoor Sangh, Sailendra Dubey, general secretary of All India Power Engineers Federation, H N Mishra, general secretary of All India Power Diploma Engineers Federation, B S Meel, convenor of NCCOEEE, spoke in the meeting supporting the resolution, which was passed unanimously. The public meeting was chaired by A B Bardhan, president of All India Federation of Electricity Employees.
leaders in their speeches pointed out that there was a written understanding
between the leaders of NCCOEEE and the minister for power on May 17, 2005 that
the Act will be reviewed based on the experience of power sector reforms for the
last one and half decade. Other issues on which consensus was reached were:
The provision for cross subsidy will be maintained
The responsibility of rural electrification, including its maintenance will be
under the responsibility of the centre and state governments.
power ministry had also agreed to move an amendment bill in this regard in the
parliament. However, the amendment bill now before the parliament has certain
restrictions which suit privatisation of distribution. As far as the review of
the Act is concerned, of late, the government has intimated that the review is
being carried out by Indian Institute of Public Administration and the interim
report of the expertsí committee (constituted by NCCOEEE) submitted to the
prime minister is also before IIPA.
above agreement was the outcome of the discussion between the then power
minister late P M Sayeed and NCCOEEE leaders at the verge of the two-day
nationwide strike declared by NCCOEEE on May 31 and June 1, 2005. The leaders
demanded immediate steps to review the Electricity Act 2003.
government of India is ignoring to carry out a serious review of the experience
of the implementation of Electricity Act 2003 and the Acts enacted in different
states, contrary to the understanding reached in black and white between the
power minister and the National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees
and Engineers. Feeling the mounting neglect in this matter, the national
coordination committee itself has constituted a committee of well-known experts
in the nation and a study has been conducted on the experience of the power
sector reforms for the last one and a half decade The high level committee has
brought out an interim report which was submitted to the prime minister and
power minister on December 7, 2005. But unfortunately, the government is toeing
the very same policy of unbundling and privatisation of the electricity boards
and trying to implement the same by hook or crook even against the interest of
the state governments, which is crystal clear from the tariff policy, mega power
policy and conditionalities of RGGVY and APDRP funding. The interim report of
the experts and the latest order of the Orissa state Electricity Regulatory
Commission against the private distribution companies reveals the fact that the
unbundling and privatisation of Electricity Boards have not helped in any manner
in the improvement of power sector, on the contrary it served its deterioration.
all aspects into consideration, the electricity employees and engineers under
the banner of National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees and
Engineers who marched to the parliament on March 1, 2006, unanimously resolve to
appeal to the government of India to start meaningful dialogue with NCCOEEE
regarding the review on the experience of unbundling and privatisation of SEBs;
immediate stoppage of all further moves to unbundle and privatise the
electricity boards and public sector utilities which is also against the spirit
of Common Minimum Progamme. Based on the factual experience of unbundled SEBs we
also demand for restoration of the Electricity Boards where they existed. If the
Minister of Power (GoI) falls to initiate discussion of review of Electricity
Act 2003 with NCCOEE with in one month, we will go for direct action.