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Strike cripples power supply in UP; deadlock after action against employees

Agitating power employees refused to budge till their demands were met even as Energy Minister A K Sharma gave an ultimatum to join the duty by 6 pm on Saturday.

Statesman News Service | Lucknow |

Rejecting all the appeals and even stern action by the government, the 72 hours strike by the Uttar Pradesh power employees continued for the second day on Saturday almost crippling the electricity supply in the state particularly in the rural areas.
State Energy Minister A K Sharma, after meeting Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, gave an ultimatum to the employees to join the duty by 6 pm on Saturday. But the agitating power employees refused to budge till their demands were met.
FIR has being registered against 22 leaders of Vidyut Karmachari Sangharsh Samiti while action will be taken against these people under ESMA. Six of these are being suspended.
The Energy Minister informed that action has also been taken against the contract workers too and  till now the services of 1332 contractual employees have been terminated.
The minister has directed all the contractual workers to join the duty by 6 pm today otherwise they will be sacked.The recruitment agencies has been asked of engaging ITI and engineering students in place of the sacked workers.
Meanwhile , the  Vidyut Karmachari Sanyukta Sangharsh Samiti, has warned the government that if the agitating power workers are arrested or dismissed, then all the workers, including junior engineers, Engineers and even  contract workers will go on indefinite strike and mass jail bharo movement will start in the entire state.
Samiti’s conveyor Shailendra Dubey said here that impact of the strike has crippled the power supply in the state on the second day of the strike .”  Another unit of 500 MW capacity in Anpara power house had to be shut down due to non-attendance of employees. Apart from this, five units of total 1000 MW capacity of Obra thermal power house have stopped working completely.
Three units of 210-210 MW capacity in Anpara were closed yesterday on the first day of the strike. A unit of 210 MW capacity had to be shut down yesterday in Parichha Thermal Power Station. In this way, 12 thermal power units of 2950 MW capacity have been closed in the Production Corporation so far, ” he claimed.
He further said several lines of transmission have been closed and due to non-availability of electrical personnel at 33/11 KV distribution sub-stations and  the power distribution system is crumbling.
While holding the top management of energy corporations and the government responsible for this situation, the office bearers of the Sangharsh Samiti have said that on December 3,2022, there was a written agreement of the Sangharsh Samiti with the Energy Minister, which the chairmans of the power corporations were refusing to accept. The Sangharsh Samiti has attributed the situation arising out of the strike to the obstinate attitude of the chairmans of the energy corporations.
The office bearers of the Sangharsh Samiti said that they are always ready for talks with the Energy Minister. The Sangharsh Samiti said that due to the order of dismissal of contract employees and registration of FIR against electricity workers on a large scale and the arrest of the office bearers of the Sangharsh Samiti, the conflict has further increased. Employees are peacefully observing a symbolic strike of 72 hours, but due to the said repressive measures, this strike can turn into an indefinite strike and a jail bharo movement, Dubey said.
In the capital Lucknow, 100% employees came out on the streets and about one lakh electricity workers from all the thermal power and hydro power projects and all the districts took part in the strike and protested, they claimed.
Earlier, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath held a meeting with officials of the department including Energy Minister AK Sharma on Saturday afternoon. He has given instructions for 24-hour power supply in the state and said that strict action should be taken against the employees who go on strike.