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Power unions cry foul

Ranchi, Feb.11: Power unions today threatened to launch a fresh agitation, alleging the state government was reneging on promises made during yesterday’s meeting with a minister that led them to call off their scheduled strike.

The coordination committee of power unions comprising six major unions, which called off their indefinite strike scheduled from today, has alleged that the minutes of the meeting circulated by the state government were at variance with the agreements reached with minister Rajendra Prasad Singh.

“The minutes of our meetings with the energy minister was circulated by Jharkhand Vidyut Vikas Nigam. Technically, it should have been circulated by the state government or by the energy secretary. To make matters worse, the minutes are at variance with the agreements reached. We will protest before the minister and if required before the energy secretary and even before the chief minister,” Prashant Chaturvedi, convener of the committee, told The Telegraph after an emergency meeting of unions today.

Chaturvedi claimed that during the meeting with the minister, it was agreed that the state government would ensure that salaries of power employees were paid by the 10th of every month. In case of delay, the salaries would be paid with interest.

It was also agreed that with effect from April 1, a trust, headed by the state energy secretary with a corpus of Rs 2,000 crore, would start handling issues concerning superannuation dues of retiring power employees.

However, Chaturvedi said, that the minutes merely stated that “efforts” would be made to pay monthly salaries to power employees by the 10th of every month and that similar efforts would be made to make the trust functional by April 1.

“The word ‘efforts’ has been deliberately included to lend an air of uncertainty,” Chaturvedi alleged.

Similarly, he claimed, the minister had agreed to withdraw all FIRs lodged by the now defunct Jharkhand State Electricity Board in December 2012 against several union leaders for engineering a strike after agreements were signed by the state government with Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) and Tata Power to hand over power distribution systems at Ranchi and Jamshedpur.

“The minutes again say that efforts would be made to withdraw the FIRs,” Chaturvedi pointed out.