The Telegraph
Wednesday , December 5 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Power deal today, unions upset

Ranchi, Dec. 4: Jharkhand State Electricity Board (JSEB) today declared it would sign the formal agreement tomorrow to hand over distribution to private firms in defiance of power unions that have been threatening a wildcat strike to oppose the move.

The coordination committee, a conglomerate of nine units, has called an emergency meeting to plan the strike tomorrow, to coincide with JSEB signing papers with Calcutta Electric Supply Company (CESC) and Tata Power that signal a shift in policy.

The two private companies will take over all jobs relating to power distribution in the state’s major cities, capital Ranchi and steel hub Jamshedpur.

The agreements will be signed around 1.15pm at Project Bhavan at a hi-profile function that will be attended by chief minister Arjun Munda, energy secretary Vimal Kirti Singh, JSEB chairman S.N. Verma along with CESC and Tata Power officials.

Crying foul, Prashant Chaturvedi, president of the coordination committee, told The Telegraph that an agreement on November 4 clearly stated that the power utility would hand over all relevant documents to unions for scrutiny before signing any agreement with private firms.

Another provision of the November 4 agreement also stated that JSEB would be in continuous dialogue with the unions to ensure that neither power utility employees, nor the JSEB and the state government were put to any loss and that the interests of all stakeholders were duly protected.

Clearly upset with JSEB for teaming up with private power utility outfits, the unions are looking at stern steps.

“JSEB has back-stabbed us. We received copies today of the letter of intent issued by JSEB to the two private firms CESC and Tata Power. We are yet to go through them. But JSEB has gone ahead in deciding to sign agreements tomorrow that signal a formal handing over of power distribution jobs to two private parties,” Chaturvedi alleged.

He confirmed they had called an emergency meeting tomorrow.

“A wildcat strike will be discussed at the meet. JSEB has broken our trust by violating the November 4 agreement with unions that leave us with no option but to strike back,” he added.

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