| Energy minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav and (left) department secretary Sandeep Poundrik interact with leaders of power unions in Patna on Monday. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
Patna, Sept. 16: The talks between the government and agitating employees of various power unions remained inconclusive on Monday.
The talks had been convened in order to defuse the crisis of an indefinite strike called by the employees from September 25.
However, both energy minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav and union leaders said they have agreed to hold talks again on Wednesday to reach to a conclusion.
“We had discussion on a whole lot of demands of the power unions in a cordial atmosphere. We have unanimity over 90 per cent of issues except a few ones. We will sit again on Wednesday to come to the conclusion,” Yadav told reporters after the two-and-half-hour meeting.
Yadav said there were issues, which could be tackled at the chairman-cum-managing director’s level while some others would come to the minister. For the rest, the chief minister had to intervene, he said.
The union leaders have assured the government that they would not affect power distribution system at all, he said, adding that they would work as usual.
Emerging out of the meeting, Power Engineering Services Association (Pesa) general secretary Ashwini Kumar echoed the minister’s view saying: “We had unanimity over 90 per cent of the issues which were discussed threadbare.”
Asked whether the workers and engineers of power unions would boycott work, Kumar made it clear that there was no boycott call given by the unions. “It (abstention from work) was suo motu decision taken by the employees and engineers probably because of the last Friday’s police brutality to suppress their peaceful agitation. We will work. The associations do not support any abstention from work.”
Some power union leaders said the minister had agreed to talk to the chief minister regarding demand for a judicial probe into the police lathicharge on Friday and removal of North Bihar Power Distribution Company Ltd managing director Sanjay Kumar Agrawal.
However, the anguish and anger of employees and engineers of various power unions were quite evident as soon as the news came out of the meeting room that there would be talks again on Wednesday.
“Our leaders have surrendered before the government. They do not have the courage to talk to the ministers. They are spineless. They should have boycotted the talks midway if things were not going their way,” a Pesu employee said.
Another official, posted at Vidyut Bhavan, said: “There is no point in carrying out a dialogue with the government, which is not ready to pay heed to their demands.”
Pesa spokesman B.L. Yadav also said: “The talks were a complete failure.”