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Electricity workers protest against privatisation; Engineers' association calls upon CM
Immediately after the agreement to introduce the distribution franchisee in Ranchi and Jamshedpur was taken, power employees and engineers went on a strike. On its part, All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) has sought the intervention of Jharkhand Chief Minister in resolving the crisis by cancelling the franchisee agreement.

SHALIENDER DUBEY, Secretary General AIPEF has written to the chief minister that all employees and engineers of Jharkhand State Electricity Board (JSEB) have proceeded on total strike as soon as board signed the franchisee agreement of Ranchi and Jamshedpur.

Strike crippled functioning of every vital establishment in the state on Thursday. Barring the capital city, the power scenario is very bad in the districts where JSEB is yet to come up with any alternate arrangements.

JSEB engineers said that the board could have started with loss-making districts like Latehar, Daltongunj and Garhwa instead of Ranchi and Jamshedpur to experiment the franchisee scheme.

Dubey said that the 'hasty' decision of signing agreement has resulted into unprecedented industrial unrest in JSEB. Urban distribution of Ranchi and Jamshedpur is high revenue earning area for JSEB; therefore, franchisee of such industrial and commercial cities is not at all in the interest of the state.

The letter sent to the chief minister mentions that present realization of JSEB is Rs 2.50 per unit in Ranchi and Rs 2.80 per unit in Jamshedpur, which is much higher than agreed price for private franchisee. JSEB shall supply electricity to private franchisee at Rs 1.78 per unit in Ranchi and at Rs 2.12 per unit in Jamshedpur. Ultimately these losses occurring in the name of franchisee shall be imposed on common consumers through increased tariff.

Dubey has mentioned in his letter that urban distribution franchisee agreement has miserably failed in Agra (UP) and in Nagpur, Aurangabad and Jalgaon (Maharashtra). In case of Agra Accountant General Report says that UPPCL suffered a loss of Rs 489 crore in 2 years. In Nagpur, Aurangabad and Jalgaon, private franchisee owes more than Rs. 500 crore towards power bills to be paid to MSEDCL.

AIPEF fully supports strike of power employees and engineers of JSEB against franchisee. "Any punitive action  taken against employees and engineers of Jharkhand will have serious repercussions for which responsibility will rest with the government," infomed a press release.

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