UP power employees strike over PF scam

Yogi Adityanath
Yogi Adityanath

Lucknow, Nov 18 Employees of the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL), on Monday, proceeded on a two-day work boycott to protest against the provident fund scam in which their money was invested in the tainted Dewan Housing and Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL).

However, the units generating power have been exempted from the protest to prevent grid failure.

The energy department has issued directives to the officers concerned to make adequate arrangements to keep electricity supply normal in in the state in view of the 48-hour work boycott.

The state home department has also asked all district magistrates and police chiefs to ensure proper security of all vital installations in their areas.

The employees are demanding that the state government give a guarantee for safe return of their provident fund money, invested in DHFL by the Uttar Pradesh Power Sector Employees’ Trust.

The Uttar Pradesh Vidyut Karmchari Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti, a joint forum of power employees and engineers, has warned the management against taking any repressive measures against the agitating staff during the ‘work boycott’.

The employees will report to their offices but shun work in a ‘work boycott’ as opposed to a full-fledged strike in which they may not even show up at the place of work.

Uttar Pradesh Power Transmission Corporation Ltd (UPPTCL) director (operation) R. K. Singh has asked the officials concerned to outsource staff to man the transmission substations and lines in view of the proposed 48-hour work boycott.

He said ex-army men should be deployed for the security of the substations and local police should be contacted for the security of the employees who want to work. Proper arrangements of food, stay and conveyance should be made for the staff that might have to work for longer hours due the work boycott.

Similar measures, according to sources, were being taken to man and manage distribution substations and lines as well.

The power employees, meanwhile, are continuing with statewide demonstrations and meetings, protesting against investment of their provident fund worth of above Rs 2,600 crore in an unsecured private housing company.

They demanded that the state government should not only give a guarantee for the safe return of the money, but also take action against the IAS officers responsible for the scam.

Samiti convener Shailendra Dubey said the employees were also agitated over the fact that the CBI probe into the PF scam had not begun yet. “There appears to be an attempt to save the bureaucrats who actually presided over the scam,” he alleged.

Dubey said all preparations had been made to make the 48-hour work boycott successful. “We would proceed on strike if any of our agitating employees was harassed during the work boycott,” he warned.

Shailendra Dubey further said that engineers will not fix any fault in power plan and even faults in transmission and distribution system will not be attended by the power employees during the 48-hour boycott.

The employees have been up in arms against the UPPCL management, demanding the arrest of former UPPCL chairman Alok Kumar, who was also the ex-officio chairman of the Uttar Pradesh State Power Sector Employees Trust which invested more than Rs 4,100 crore in DHFL since March 2017.

UPPCL sources said the corporation was preparing to file a review petition in the Mumbai high court, which has barred DHFL from releasing money to its creditors.

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