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Chandigarh: Decision to privatise power not gone down well with power employees and residents

The privatisation is being pushed in a clandestine manner and the same is bound to have an adverse impact on the major stakeholders -- consumers and employees. Indian Express Reporter Hina Rohtaki speaks to some people opposing the decision.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh |
January 19, 2021 11:24:49 am
Shashi Dixit, Engineer-in-Chief (Retd), Punjab Power Corporation, Chandigarh

Shashi Dixit, Engineer-in-Chief (Retd), Punjab Power Corporation, Chandigarh

The privatisation of Chandigarh Electricity Department is an ill-conceived and uncalled-for exercise which is being done in undue haste under the directions of Government of India. Chandigarh power department is a low loss-making entity and ranks high in terms of efficiency and consumer satisfaction.

The privatisation is being pushed in a clandestine manner and the same is bound to have an adverse impact on the major stakeholders — consumers and employees. Workers are worried about their future as well as the retirement benefits like pension, gratuity and GPF. Further, it is amply evident that the beneficiaries from privatisation would undoubtedly be only the big business houses and corporates.

Vinod Vashisht, Convener, City Forum of Residents Welfare Organizations (CFORWO)

chandigarh privatisation Vinod Vashisht, Convener, City Forum of Residents Welfare Organizations (CFORWO)

If UT doesn’t want to own its electricity department, let it be given to Punjab or Haryana power discoms.
Unlike other UTs, Chandigarh is state capital of both Punjab and Haryana. Any move to privatise its electricity department should have taken place after due consultations with stakeholders like affected employees, domestic/commercial consumers and states of Punjab and Haryana. In a response to recent rollback of privatisation move of eastern UP discom after it received massive resistance, Union Power Minister R K Singh had said “privatisation is not a policy; it is a method of reducing losses”.

Chandigarh, having lower Aggregate Technical and Commercial (ATC) losses than the set target, nowhere fits into the intended objective of privatisation of electricity discoms by Government of India. If still need be, it should be first offered to Punjab or Haryana discoms than any other private sector as a private sector would resort to undue profiteering at the cost of city residents.

Pankaj Gupta, Chief Spokesman, Federation of Sectors Welfare Associations of Chandigarh (FOSWAC)

Pankaj Gupta, Chief Spokesman, Federation of Sectors Welfare Associations of Chandigarh (FOSWAC) Pankaj Gupta, Chief Spokesman, Federation of Sectors Welfare Associations of Chandigarh (FOSWAC)

People are disappointed with the decision of the Supreme Court staying stay order of the High Court against privatisation of electricity in Chandigarh, which has opened the doors for the Administration to proceed further. Had true facts been placed before the apex court, this order wouldn’t have been passed. The residents fear that the rates of electricity will be increased by private sector to add insult to injuries of the common man.

The electricity department is not only a profit-generating department of Chandigarh Administration but it is also providing electricity efficiently at reasonable rates. We still have hope that the Supreme Court will take final decision in this regard keeping in view the interests and sentiments of the consumers at large and the staff of the department. When there is no problem with the present system, the Administration should not run behind privatisation and its approach should be public-friendly.

Rajat Malhotra, General Secretary, Chandigarh Residents Associations Welfare Federation (CRAWFED)

Chandigarh electricity, Chandigarh power privatisation, electricity privatisation in Chandigarh, Chandigarh city news, Indian Express news Rajat Malhotra, General Secretary, Chandigarh Residents Associations Welfare Federation (CRAWFED)

It is unfortunate that UT electricity department is being privatised despite huge resentment from residents and social organisations of Chandigarh. Residents are already enjoying 24-hour uninterrupted power supply and that too at a very reasonable tariff in comparison to other states of India. The electricity department is earning profits and contributing handsomely to the exchequer every year. Residents fear that now they will have to bear enhanced tariffs in future for the same services they are already availing at present.

Gopal Datt Joshi, General Secretary, UT Powermen Union, Chandigarh

Chandigarh electricity, Chandigarh power privatisation, electricity privatisation in Chandigarh, Chandigarh city news, Indian Express news Gopal Datt Joshi, General Secretary, UT Powermen Union, Chandigarh

The UT Powermen Union Chandigarh strongly criticises the decision of 100% privatisation of the Electricity Department UT Chandigarh in violation of the rules, regulations, provision of Electricity Act 2003 as well as the direction of Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC). Government of India in the name of AatmNirbhar Bharat has decided to privatise the distribution of all Union Territories without waiting for the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020 to be placed /passed in Parliament. No transparent policy has been adopted while starting the Chandigarh bidding process.

The issue is still to be decided by courts. Thus it is requested to stop the bidding process started hurriedly till the final outcome of the decision. The union has also requested UT Administrator and Advisor to the Administrator to consider the various points raised by the union in its memorandum submitted to them last month regarding privatisation as well as service condition of the employees.

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