Uttar Pradesh power employees will join a protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on February 21 to demand a rollback of the proposal to bring in a two-fold hike in gas prices from April 1. They will also oppose the privatization of power utilities.In a meeting held on Tuesday, the UP Vidyut Karmachari Samyukt Sangharsh Samiti decided to oppose the proposed increase in gas prices to $8.4/mmbtu as such a move would lead to an increase of approximately Rs 2 in per unit charges for electricity consumers.
The protest, which will be organized under the banner of National Co-ordination Committee of Electricity Employees and Engineers (NCCOEEE), will be joined by the All India Power Engineers' Federation along with a number of other power sector employees' associations.
"The demand to rollback hike in gas prices has been put to ensure affordable electricity to consumers. A two-fold hike in prices will increase input costs of gas-based power stations which will be ultimately paid for by consumers," said Shailendra Dubey, co-convener, NCCOEEE.
In a further demand to ensure affordable electricity, the committee has demanded that majority of power projects in the country need to be developed by the public sector.
The committee has also demanded for maximum electricity purchase from state-run power generating stations to keep prices low for consumers. Apart from this, the committee has sought a review of the Electricity Act of 2003.
It has demanded that the proposed amendment to the act aimed at privatization of electricity distribution should be taken back.
Around 12 lakh employees of nationwide power sector utilities will support the protest at Jantar Mantar.
The state's power sector employees have also decided to go on a strike across all district headquarters on February 21 and at the head office in Lucknow.