Power sector employees in Kerala on Monday joined the nationwide protests called by the National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees and Engineers (NCCOEEE) against the decision to introduce the Electricity (Amendment) Bill in the monsoon session of Parliament.
Protests against the Narendra Modi-led BJP government were organised outside 1,000 Central government institutions in the State including the Raj Bhavan, where a 11-point ‘chargesheet’ was read out. The protests were a prelude to the nationwide strike called by power sector organisations on August 10.
The move to de-licence and open up power distribution would benefit the corporates alone, imperilling the ordinary consumer, NCCOEEE said.
Inaugurating the protest organised in front of the Raj Bhavan, CITU State president Ananthalavattom Anandan urged the people to fight and defeat the proposed electricity reforms which, he said, was part of the broad privatisation policies followed by the BJP government.
Opening up the distribution business to private companies would lead to higher tariffs for the ordinary consumer, he said.
“Private players will in no way be accountable to the people as the State-run Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) is. One should remember that the KSEB employees managed to restore full supply in the state within weeks of the devastation wreaked by the 2018 and 2019 floods. Can you expect that from a private company? The people will not accept anti-people laws,” he said.
The chargesheet accused the Modi government of allowing corporate monopolies free rein over energy resources including coals. The amendment would enable private monopolies to take control of the power supply business. It would lead to private companies ‘cherrypicking’ the high-end consumers, leaving the public sector to cater to the low-end consumers.
Further, the cross-subsidy system designed to support the BPL and low-end consumers would vanish. The chargesheet accused the Centre of ignoring the spirit of federalism and usurping the States’ rights in matters related to electricity.
It further charged the Modi government to using divisive tactics and sedition laws to suppress dissent and failing to address price rise, unemployment, and the economic downturn in a constructive manner.
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