The first day of the two-day strike by the Electricity Department employees against privatisation of 23 sub-divisions evoked an overwhelming response across the Haryana. The state government has adopted "no work, no pay" stance against employees. It said power supply was normal across the state with hardly any disruptions or sabotage being reported.
Chief Secretary DS Dhesi claimed 36 per cent of the employees were absent from duty, but reports from the field pointed out that a majority of the employees, especially the regular ones, were absent from duty in spite of the imposition of the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA).
Dhesi said District Magistrates and officers in the field had been instructed to ensure that power supply remained undisrupted. Those trying to disrupt the supply would face action, he warned.
To a question, he said the number of employees on strike was high in Hisar, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Ambala and Kurukshetra districts. "The supply was disrupted in Hisar and Bahadurgarh, but it was restored later."
Additional Chief Secretary (Power) Rajan Gupta said the agitation being resorted to by a section of employees was "totally unjustified". The employees are agitating against the decision to engage private service providers in maintaining 23 sub-divisions and redressing complaints of consumers, he said.
Gupta said the police had made arrangements to secure power sub-stations, sensitive installations.
Karnal: Uninterrupted power supply laid to rest fears of city residents and industrialists alike. They apprehended power outage on the first day of the strike.
The employees protested in each block of the district. The administration made elaborate arrangements to control the situation. No untoward incident was reported. A large number of police personnel was deployed at several places.
Amit Gupta, vice-president, Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the industry received uninterrupted supply on the first day of the strike.
Jhajjar: Of 930 employees of the power utilities, 586 did not turn up for duty today. The Power Department, meanwhile, terminated the services of eight Class IV outsourced employees and initiated termination process for 52 others working on daily wage. Superintendent Engineer (SE) SK Chawla said about employees had been outsourced for three days (June 28 to 30) to ensure smooth supply of electricity in the district.
Sonepat: Around 80 per cent of the employees remained on strike today. There was hardly any disruption in the power supply in most of the areas. No untoward incident was reported.
Kurukshetra: In all, 736 out of 1,136 employees abstained from their duty. There was no report of any attempt to sabotage power supply lines. Superintendent Engineer (SE) RK Tewatia said the department was geared up for any situation.
Bhiwani: Several employees of the Power Department participated in the strike. They sat on a dharna at Nehru Park in the morning and raised slogans against the government. They dubbed ESMA a black law.
Yamunanagar: Power Department employees sat on a dharna near Kanhaiya Sahib Chowk here today. No report of blackout was reported from the district.
Ambala: Notwithstanding the strike by Power Department employees, the supply remained undisrupted. VK Khurana, SE, confirmed this. Around 90 per cent of the regular staff remained absent from duty.
Kaithal: About 1,500 employees in the district remained on strike and held a meeting in Jawahar Park. Later, they submitted a memorandum of demands to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate.
Panipat: Around 90 per cent of regular employees and 10 per cent of contractual staff remained absent from duty, said Superintendent Engineer AK Raheja.
Rohtak: About 70 per cent of power employees observed strike, as a result of which several consumers faced inconvenience.
Work disrupted in 13 Jind sub-divisions
Jind: The work at 13 sub-divisions and three divisions of the Power Department in the district disrupted because of the strike by employees on Wednesday. They took out a rally in Jind. More than 700 employees participated. The Joint Action Committee that includes Sarv Karamchari Sangh and Haryana Karamchari Mahasangh gave a call for strike. Rajesh Kumar Verma of the Sarv Karamchari Sangh said, "Employees will not accept the government's decision to privatise 23 sub-divisions which are generating revenue and working efficiently." The work was halted at five sub-divisions each in Narwana and Jind, and three in Safidon, he said. "There are several defunct sub-divisions in Haryana. The government should take up their case instead of privatising well-functioned power houses," Verma said. He pointed out another demand of employees. "The government should give jobs to members of families of employees who lost their lives while on duty, besides resuming pension scheme for employees."