People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 01, 2007
Electricity Employees Stage March To Parliament
B S Meel
THE electricity employees and engineers under the banner of Electricity Employees Federation of India, marched to parliament from Ram Lila Ground on March 14, 2007 on the following demands:
Electricity for all at affordable cost
A thorough review of electricity act, 2003
Meaningful review of impacts of unbundled SEBs and action there upon
Stop privatisation of core sector and industries including electricity
Discuss the review report with NCCOEEE
A meeting was held before parliament and request made to government of India to convene a meeting with National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees And Engineers (NCCOEEE) to discuss the impacts of restructuring of SEBs and review of Electricity Act, 2003, since the study entrusted to the Indian Institute of Public Administration, “on impacts of restructuring of SEBs” by the ministry of Power, government of India(IIPA) had already been submitted on January 29, 2007. At the outset the study by IIPA can be recognised as providing the requirements sought from the government of India in the report on “Indian Power Sector” by World Bank in June, 2006, which is in essence the aggressive pursuance of neo-liberal policies being implemented in power sector without properly analysing the impacts on the social dimensions regarding accessibility and affordability of electricity to the common man.
The Electricity Employees Federation of India (EEFI) has considered the report on “Impacts of Restructuring of SEBs” by Indian Institute of Public Administration worth rejection and the recommendations are detrimental to the generation of employment and development of the country.
About 10,000 electricity employees and engineers participated in this protest march from the length and breadth of the country and requested the government that the discussion on Impact of restructuring of SEBs and review of Electricity Act, 2003, which is pending since May 17, 2005 under the alibi of the so called study being conducted by the Indian Institute of Public Administration, be immediately started by convening a meeting with NCCOEEE.
M K Pandhe, president, CITU while inaugurating the rally meeting before parliament enjoined upon the electricity employees and engineers to launch a series of struggles against power reforms and neo-liberal policies by strengthening the unity of electricity employees and engineers at every step.
E Balanandan who presided over the meeting said that despite bitter experience world over regarding failure of de-regulation in power sector, government of India unmindfully wants to aggressively pursue the power reforms against which electricity employees should fight with full vigour and strength to save the interests of the country. Er B S Meel in his address said that de-regulation means elimination of public interest laws and today under the cover of Electricity Act, 2003 the power utilities themselves function as complainant, police as well as judge and there is neither appeal, or vakeel or reasoning. The central question today is that Indian power sector be insulated from de-regulation. A.S. Sodhi, president, Technical Services Union and R.C. Jagga, deputy general secretary, AHPWU in their address enjoined upon the employees to broaden the platform of struggle and as a first step vigorous awareness campaign for mazdoor-kisan unity should be built up. Further all toiling classes, landless, unemployed, unorganised, intelligentsia are to be involved in the unity platform so that we emerge as victorious force to roll back the de-regulation in power sector.
Chakradhar Pd Singh, general secretary, All India Federation of Electricity Employees (AITUC), Akhtar Hussain, general secretary, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyut Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), fraternal organisations also greeted the electricity employees and assured full support of their organisations in the united struggles.
Subhash Lamba, general secretary, AHPWU, offered the vote of thanks.