Privatisation of electricity department in Chandigarh: RWA apex body to join powermen for protest on November 24

To protest against the privatisation of the UT electricity department, the Federation of Sector Welfare Associations Chandigarh (FOSWAC) will be joining the UT Powermen Union (UTPU) for a protest at the Transport Chowk in Sector 26 on Monday.

FOSWAC chairman Baljinder Singh Bittu said, “Why privatise a department that is already in profit. A private company will further increase the power bills. This government has done nothing but charge taxes in one form or the other from the residents and has given us no improvement in the services that they provide.”

General secretary of UTPU Gopal Dutt Joshi said the powermen were not sure if they will retain their jobs once the department is privatised: “We have over 20 years of work experience. The private companies are most likely to replace us with underpaid newcomers who will not provide the same services that we do.”

‘Will approach high court’

Bittu added that after Monday, FOSWAC will hold another protest march most likely in Sector 17 along with other associations against the UT administration if their demands were not considered. He also said that FOSWAC will approach the Punjab and Haryana high court to take legal action against the government for privatising an essential commodity.

The Union power ministry had asked the UT administration to privatise power distribution in the city. Nine firms including Adani and Tata have expressed interest in the bidding process.

With privatisation, the department will become an autonomous body that will be divided into the State Transmission Utility (STU) and the State Load Dispatch Centre (SLDC). The STU will be responsible for smooth transmission of power and the SLDC will be the main body to ensure integrated operation of the power system.

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