Wednesday, January 26, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Ray of light in sight
UP power strike may end

LUCKNOW, Jan 25 (PTI, UNI) — the Uttar Pradesh Government and leaders of the striking powermen tonight began negotiations after a marathon meeting of the up powermen Joint Action Committee (UPJAC) amid indications of a breakthrough to end the 11-day-old strike.

Leaders of the UPJAC, which is spearheading the strike protesting the trifurcation of the state electricity board, held a six-hour meeting to finalise their stand in the face of state government’s firmness to press ahead with the power sector reform measures.

The service conditions of the employees under the three corporations, newly carved out of the UPSEB, were understood to have come up for thorough discussion at the UPJAC meeting, sources said.

However, the UPJAC spokesman emerging from the meeting refused to disclose what transpired in the meeting.

Official sources maintained that the government had clarified to the striking leaders that except power reforms, it would discuss threadbare on employees’ service conditions, while the UPJAC spokesman declined to spell out its stand at the fresh negotiations.

The talks which began here are being participated by, among others, Energy Minister Naresh Agarwal, Urban Development Minister Lalji Tandon and Minister of State for Energy Lallo Singh on behalf of the government and Mr Shailendra Dubey and Mr Akhilesh Pratap Singh on behalf of employees.

Earlier, today, the state government conceded the employees’ demand to bring two of their leaders from jail for resumption of talks.

Energy Minister Naresh Agarwal said this morning that the two — Shailendra Dubey and Akhilesh Pratap Singh had been brought from Banda Jail to enable them to participate in the talks. They had been lodged in the Lucknow jail. Another power union leader Raja Ram Pandey is already in Lucknow jail. The leaders had been detained under the National Security Act (NSA).

The energy minister said the leaders had, however, not been released. They were in police custody and would be released when the employees return to duty after accepting the power reforms.

According to a PTI report from New Delhi the strike by the workers of the Uttar Pradesh State Electricity Board (UPSEB) is likely to end today with striking leaders accepting the notification of state government for trifurcation of the electricity board, Union Power Minister P.R. Kumaramangalam indicated today.

“The final round of negotiations would be held today and I believe that the striking employees have accepted the UPSEB notification,” Mr Kumaramangalam said here.

Stating that the power situation in the North was normal, Mr Kumaramangalam said that power supply to the states was being maintained without the grid being affected.

Meanwhile, highly placed Power Ministry officials told PTI on conditions on anonymity that about 20,000 workers including engineers, already joined work yesterday and hoped that today would be the last stage of the strike.

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