Saturday, January 22,

Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

UP sets up panel to end strike

LUCKNOW, Jan 21 (PTI) — The Uttar Pradesh Government tonight reviewed the power situation arising out of the powermen’s strike and constituted a three-member committee to bring about an early end to the seven-day old strike.

The Chief Minister, Mr Ram Prakash Gupta, who presided over the meeting, appointed the Energy Minister, Mr Naresh Agarwal, the Urban Development Minister, Mr Lalji Tandon, and the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Mr Hukum Singh, as members of the committee, an official note said here.

It said the committee would keep persuading the striking employees to return to duties and also keep options open for a dialogue.

The committee, the note said, should also make efforts to persuade the striking powermen as to why the trifurcation of the Uttar Pradesh State Electricity Board (UPSEB) was necessary and how it was in the interest of the employees and the people in general.

The note claimed that over 17,000 striking powermen had returned to duties, while the services of 378 striking employees had so far been terminated.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the UP Powermen Joint Action Committee said they were never opposed to talks, but the government should first withdraw the notification of trifurcating the UPSEB.

“The government must give reasons as to what compelled it to go for trifurcation,” the spokesman said, adding that the issue of restructuring the UPSEB was wide open before the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court in which the government had to explain all these in the next 10 days.

Earlier, with the failure of talks with striking powermen opposed to restructuring of the loss-making state electricity board, the Uttar Pradesh Government today acted tough by ruling out further talks and announced its decision to make fresh recruitment and grant out-of-turn promotions to “loyal” workers.

The talks between the government and the Joint Action Committee of striking employees broke down with the latter insisting on withdrawal of the notification trifurcating the UPSEB while the government was willing to consider the issue of their service conditions and options to join any of the three newly-carved out corporations from the board.

After two rounds of talks yesterday and another today, both the State Urban Development Minister Lalji Tandon and action committee convener Shailendra Dubey said there was no question of resuming the talks.

Energy Minister Naresh Agarwal, who also took part in the three rounds of talks with the powermen unions leaders, told reporters here there would be no roll back of trifurcation and the government would deal firmly with the strikers and start fresh recruitment against “vacant” posts and give out-of-turn promotions to “loyal” workers who had returned to duties.

The government dismissed the services of a total of 370 engineers, including 170 more engineers today, and claimed 15,897 powermen had returned to duty on the seventh day of the state-wide indefinite strike by powermen.

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