Power sector employees threaten strike against Electricity Bill

| | New Delhi
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Power sector employees threaten strike against Electricity Bill

Sunday, 14 February 2021 | IANS | New Delhi

Power sector employees threaten strike against Electricity Bill

The All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) has demanded that the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2021 must be put out in the public domain before starting the discussion on it in Parliament.

AIPEF Chairman Shailendra Dubey in a statement here said that the Bill is not available on the Power Ministry website.

He said the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2021 is included in the list of 20 new Bills to be placed in the current Budget session of Parliament. Now the Union Power Minister is to hold a video conference on February 17 with power secretaries of the state and CMDs of the discoms to discuss the proposed amendments in Electricity Act 2003.

AIPEF has threatened a lightning strike against any unilateral move to rush through the Bill in Parliament.

AIPEF national executive meeting has been called on February 27 at Mumbai which will decide the future agitational course of action. Dubey said all power engineers across the country will go for nationwide struggle along with 1.5 million power employees against Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2021.

AIPEF in its letter to the Prime Minister has mentioned that this is a short cut and rushed through amendments without due consideration or deliberation and is not acceptable.

There have been reports that the Power Ministry has circulated Electricity (Amendment) Bill proposing amendments to the Electricity Act 2003. The proposed amendments entail de-licensing of the distribution business.

A copy of the letter addressed to the Prime Minister has been endorsed to all Chief Ministers with the request to use good offices to ensure that Bill is placed in public domain and all stakeholders including consumers and employees are given the due opportunity to submit their comments on the Bill, AIPEF said.

Dubey said that the reported matters in the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2021 are un-authenticated and deserve to be discarded, particularly as they are tantamount to introducing a drastic policy of separating carriage and content which was earlier rejected by as many as 20 states.

The outcome of the various suggestions of the stakeholders on the Bill 2020 remains undisclosed and a new draft Bill 2021 has been leaked to the selected few. The present approach of the ministry of power is non-transparent and secretive, and seems that the government is trying to hide secret critical facts, he said.

AIPEF stressed that all the stakeholders including associations/unions of employees and engineers, consumers and others must be given sufficient time to present their viewpoints as state governments are not the only stakeholders.

The draft of amendment was sent by Power Ministry on February 5 only to Principal Secretaries of states and CMDs of state power corporations to file comments in 14 days, i.e. by February 19.

Even before the last date of February 19, Power Minister R.K. Singh is going to hold a video conference on February 17 with states and state CMDs.

"The government has forgotten that consumers, employees and workers are the most important stakeholders that Ministry of Power is ignoring by keeping the amendment Bill secret. This wrong approach will recoil on MOP and surely defeat the entire process. We again request intervention of PM of India to restore transparency and order that amendments be put on MOP website with time of minimum 3 months to submit comments," AIPEF said.

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