Uttar Pradesh Energy Minister AK Sharma claimed that despite the strike by the power employees, power supply, power generation and transmission was normal across the state.
He said that barring sporadic incidents of sabotage by the power employees in eastern UP to disrupt the power supply, the situation was normal and under control in the state.
“It’s a challenging time for us. I appeal to the people and the people’s representatives to cooperate and give protection to the loyal employees reporting on duty. The people should show restraint and bear with us,” the minister said in a press conference here on Friday.
“The government has been able to maintain the normal power supply, generation and transmission with the help of trained personnel provided by public and private companies like National Thermal Power Corporation, Power Grid Corporation India Limited. The private companies include the Prayagraj Thermal Power Company of Tata group, Bajaj Power of Lalitpur and Lanco Thermal Power Company,” he said.
“We made our best efforts to stall the strike and accommodated the demands of the employees which were permissible within our resources. The accumulated loss the UP Power Corporation since its inception in January 2000 is Rs 93,000 crore and loan from banks and financial institutions are Rs 82,000 crore,” the minister said, adding that bonus to the employs was paid in 2023 after a gap of five years and owing to resources crunch it is difficult to pay the arrears of five years in one installment,” he added.
The minister said it was in the interest of the power employees to collect more revenue in March, the last month of the financial year. He said the strike was not in the interest of the power employees and they had gone on strike due to the adamant attitude of some organisations of the power employees.
The minister said incidents of sabotage to disrupt power supply
had been reported from Deoria district while an attempt was made to disrupt the working of the State Load Despatch Centre (SLDC) which controls the power grid.
The minister warned that in case of public disorder due to the ongoing three-day strike of the power employees, the government would take strict action under the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) and National Security Act (NSA).
The employees went on strike on Thursday, and are demanding regularisation of pay anomalies and fulfillment of certain criteria of chairman selection process.
The minister said orders for sacking contractual employees and making fresh recruitments had been issued.
The government on Thursday had threatened to sack contractual workers who do not return to work. The government also said action would be initiated under the NSA in case of damage of public property due to vandalism during the strike. The government has also issued an alert in the state in view of the strike.
The strike was joined by around one lakh employees who gathered under the banner of Vidyut Karmachari Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti, a union of electricity department employees. The employees on strike held demonstrations across the state on Thursday and also on Friday.
Notably, the state government and the employees had reached an agreement on certain points on December 23 last year, but several of those changes were not implemented even after three months, Sangharsh Samiti convener Shailendra Dubey said.