Puducherry, Feb 1 (BPNS)
The indefinite strike called by the employees of the Puducherry electricity department in protest of privatization of distribution and transmission of power has commenced in the Union territory of Puducherry from Tuesday.
Employees of Puducherry, Karaikkal, Yanam, and Mahe are in protest and have stuck work in all offices, installations, and substations of Puducherry Electricity Department (PED). The strike is in response to the call given by the Electricity Engineers and Employees Privatisation Protest Committee (EEEPPC).
The employees of the Puducherry Electricity Department (PED) assembled and protested in front of the head office of the department at Sonampalayam junction after police personnel prevented the employees except those working at the head office from entering there. According to sources in PED, around 2000 employees are striking in the Union Territory against the privatization steps taken by the government of the territory.
EEEPPC leader C. Arul Murugan while addressing the strike employees said,” Unless the Chief Minister and the Power minister Namassivayam don’t give an assurance that the transmission and distribution of Puducherry Electricity Department will not be privatized, the strike will continue. We joined as Government employees and wants to retire as Government employees.”
He said that the employees will not attend to any transmission or distribution faults in the line and will not participate in the bill collection and payment in offices unless the strike is resolved.
The EEEPPC leader P. Velmurugan said that they cannot be cowed down by threats like evoking Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) and said that the employees and workers would handle such a situation.
Heavy contingent of police have been deployed at all Electricity major offices in the territory including at Puducherry, Karaikkal, Yanam and Mahe. Opposition parties like DMK and Congress would conduct protest marches across the state on Tuesday evening in support to the strike conducted by the Electricity Employees.
Trade union leaders in the power sector of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have reached Puducherry and participated in the strike organized by the EEEPPC at the electricity headquarters at Sonapalayam.