The contentious issue of privatisation of electricity distribution in the urban centres of Uttar Pradesh has 'once again' come to the fore. The powermen have warned the Akhilesh Yadav government against any such move lest they resort to agitation.
The privatisation issue has witnessed several such face offs over the years spanning both previous Mayawati and current Samajwadi Party regimes.
Earlier this year too, the powermen had held statewide protests against the alleged move to privatise electricity distribution in four major cities viz. Meerut, Ghaziabad, Kanpur and Varanasi. Agra had already been handed over to Torrent Power under the electricity distribution franchisee model during the Mayawati regime.
These protests were organised under the aegis of the UP Power Employees Joint Action Committee (JAC), which had warned if the 'privatisation' move wasn't rolled back, the agitation would be intensified and 'indefinite work boycott' would start on May 13, 2013.
However, the agitation was called off following "assurances" by the state and UP Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) to powermen, while the government had also taken a tough stance.
Now, the ruling SP has, in a statement released by party spokesperson and UP cabinet minister Rajendra Chaudhary, expressed commitment towards the privatisation of power distribution in Meerut, Varanasi and Ghaziabad by year end.
Reacting to this, JAC convenor Shailendra Dubey has sought immediate explanation from the chief minister failing which the employees and engineers would be forced to launch stir, for which the state government would be solely responsible.
UPPCL has always denied there was any privatisation move saying the plan was to adopt public private partnership (PPP) model in distribution for greater efficiency.
On the other hand, JAC maintained the state was trying to privatise high revenue areas as a "policy of privatising the profits and nationalising the losses."
The state government through UPPCL had resolved to undertake the renovation, upgradation, modernisation, strengthening, operation and maintenance of the distribution system and sub-transmission system of the four cities under PPP.
The Corporation had solicited 'request for proposal' for appointment of technical consultant to prepare a feasibility report for the project in an earlier ad.
Source- Business Standard