Jammu, Dec 17: Over 20,000 employees and engineers of the Power Development Department (PDD) have decided to go on an indefinite strike across Jammu and Kashmir opposing the alleged “privatisation” of grid stations.
“The decision to go on an indefinite strike was taken after two rounds of talks in Jammu held between the Power Employees and Engineers Coordination Committee (PEECC), J&K, and government representatives (Managing Director, JKPDC) failed to yield any result to break the impasse,” said Jasbir Singh, senior leader, Electrical Employees Union, who was part of the employees' representatives.
“So, we have decided to go on strike from December 18, 2021,” he said.
PEECC is an amalgam of all the associations falling under the ambit of the Power Development Department (PDD) and caters to the common issues of the employees from the lowest position in hierarchy up to the topmost office bearers on the establishment of PDD.
“Our department was converted into a corporation. We were assured release of timely wages, promotions, and regularisation of daily wagers. However, it did not happen. We were kept in the dark,” Singh said. “They are trying to privatise our grid stations. They converted it into a corporation from the department. Then they did not fulfill the promises made to us. Now, is it possible for us to believe that they won’t sell the grid stations? The employees are feeling unsafe.”
Talking to Greater Kashmir, JKEEGA General Secretary, and Convenor PEECC, Sachin Tickoo said, “Power grids are our assets and they should not be sold.”
“We were sent to Corporation on deputation, but here we do not get timely salary on regular basis,” he added while saying that: “they have given time to the authorities but they were not ready to accept our demands compelling us to go on indefinite strike.”
The union leaders said that all the employees were apprehensive of the move as they had in past witnessed the fate of the joint venture company like CVPPPL that was floated on the same concept of harnessing the hydro-potential, and NHPC, JKSPDC, and PDD were equivalent shareholders.
“With time, there is a monopoly of NHPC Ltd with the Chairman and Managing Director both from NHPC and the position of Joint Managing Director, who as per agreement should be from JKPDD or SPDC is lying vacant since 2015,” they said. “The top-level management has all been taken over by NHPC. Moreover, the employees of PDD on deputation to CVPPPL are either not given a position commensurate to their status in PDD or are victimised on one pretext or the other.”
The union leaders said that the formation of the joint venture company ‘J&K Grid Company’ in haste without discussing the modalities of every clause with the employee representatives under the banner of PEECC would not be acceptable to the employees in the PDD.
“This move will be opposed tooth and nail. The trust deficit between the employees and the government on this issue has increased due to the unilateral approach adopted by the government,” the employee union leaders said.