Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, November 21
The Federation of Sectors Welfare Association Chandigarh (FOSWAC) and the UT Powermen Union (UTPU) have condemned the decision of privatisation of the UT Electricity Department by violating the rules, regulations and provision of the Electricity Act 2003 as well as the directions of the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC). They also decided to hold a protest march against the decision.
FOSWAC and Powermen leaders stated that the Centre published a draft of the Electricity Amendment Bill - 2020 on April 17, 2020. Thereafter, it decided to privatise the distribution of all Union Territories without waiting for the Electricity Amendment Bill - 2020 to be placed/passed in Parliament.
Baljinder Singh Bittu, chairman, FOSWAC, and Gopal Datt Joshi, general secretary, UTPU, stated that the move of privatisation was ill-conceived, unilateral without consulting the stakeholders and devoid of merit.
They said the Administration was in so much hurry that it never felt the need to invite objections from stakeholders (FOSWAC and UTPU, stakeholders of residents and employees, respectively) or taking opinion from the JERC.
“We, as stakeholders, feel that the supply of electricity to various consumers at reasonable rates is the basic necessity and it is the duty of the government to fulfil this legitimate need,” they said.
The leaders said: “There is a strong apprehension that there will be no control over arbitrary increase in rates by private companies whose sole interest is to make profit from the business.”
They said the Electricity Department was relatively maintaining good supply of electricity at reasonable rates without any gap of revenue in purchase and sale within the permissible transmitting loses and there was no reason to justify the privatisation at all.
Bittu said the government was hell-bent on privatising the department despite being in huge profit for the past several years.
“We apprehend that the sole motive of the private sector is profit making and residents will end up paying highly increased power tariff,” he said.
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