CITU Supports the Struggling Powermen of Chandigarh Power Utility against Privatization

The Central Government has decided to privatise the Chandigarh Union Territory Electricity Department. This is a cheapest and efficient electricity provider to the city and suburb populations. Moreover it’s a profit making entity.

In utter defiance to the Judicial dictum, the City electricity department will be bundled into a company and its share would be transferred to a Private Company. The Kolkata-based industrial and services conglomerate RP-Sanjiv Goenka (RPSG) Group had said to be quoted so called ‘highest bid’ of Rs.871 crores to take over the department of having annual turnover of more than Rs 1,000 crores and with Rs.20,000- Rs.25,000 crores of worth of assets. The Central Government has decided to sell such huge public assets to a private company called the Eminent Electricity Distribution (EED), the wholly-owned subsidiary of RPSG flagship company the Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation. In order to legitimize this day light loot of public assets, the valuation of  land and fixed assets has been fixed @Re 1/- per annum.

Though the privatization decision was taken in 2020, it was thus far stalled by the vociferous agitations by the electricity employees under the banner of UT Powermen Union Chandigarh- both in and out of courts.

When the Central Home Ministry took the final decision to sell this important government department to private in September 2021, immediately the Chandigarh electricity employees went on several strikes since October, 2021. Then again went for one day strike on 1st February, 2022 where hundreds of electricity employees from adjoining states of J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab rallied in solidarity. National leaders of Employees and Engineers organisations from power sector took part representing broad based platform of National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees and Engineers (NCCOEEE). Again, on 15th March, 2022 the entire Chandigarh civil society- resident associations and general public including peasants from the rural area mobilised at large along with Trade Unions and political parties -revolted against this disastrous anti-national move and staged a massive dharna. Now the UT Powermen Union Chandigarh has declared 72 hours strike- that is three day strike from February 22 to 24th 2022 against this anti-national move of transferring the profit-making public entity to the private. If the demand to stop privatization is not conceded, the UT Powermen Union Chandigarh has declared that this 72 hours strike would be converted into an indefinite strike.

When Central government contemplated such a move of reckless privatization of electricity utilities in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Pondicherry, it was defeated by the united joint movement of electricity employees and engineers with public support in their respective UTs. Without learning any lesson from these episodes, the authoritarian regime embarked upon the same route to demonstrate its loyalty to private corporate.

CITU while expressing solidarity with struggling Chandigarh electricity employees besides the general public who are extending unflinching support to the workers, unequivocally condemns this privatization drive- the unbridled servility of the Modi regime to the corporate caprices for the public assets and demands to stop this anti-national activities unconditionally forthwith.

Issued By
Tapan Sen
General Secretary

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