Defying all appeals and even strict action by the government, the 72-hour strike by Uttar Pradesh power employees continued for the second day on Saturday, almost paralyzing power supply in the state, especially in rural areas. State Energy Minister AK Sharma, after meeting Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, has given an ultimatum to the employees to report for duty by 6 p.m. on Saturday. But the agitated power workers sit on the dharna till their demands were met.
An FIR has been lodged against 22 leaders of the Vidyut Karmachari Sangharsh Samiti, and action will be taken under ESMA. Six of these are being suspended. The Energy Minister said that action has also been taken against the contract workers, and so far the services of 1332 contract workers have been terminated.
The minister has instructed all the contract workers to report to duty by 6 p.m. today; otherwise, they will be sacked. Recruiting agencies have been asked to replace sacked personnel with ITI and engineering students.
Meanwhile, the Vidyut Karmachari Sanyukta Sangharsh Samiti has warned the government that if the agitating power workers are arrested or sacked, all employees, including junior engineers, engineers, and even contract workers, will go on an indefinite strike and go to mass jails. The movement will start all over the state.
The chairman of the committee, Shailendra Dubey, said here that due to the effect of the strike, the power supply in the state has collapsed even on the second day of the strike. Another unit of 500 MW capacity at Anpara Power House had to be shut down due to the non-availability of employees. Apart from this, five units of the total 1000 MW capacity of the Obra Thermal Power Station have stopped working completely.
Yesterday, on the first day of the strike, three units of 210 MW each remained closed in Anpara. A unit of 210 MW capacity at Parichha Thermal Power Station had to be shut down yesterday. Thus far, 12 thermal power units of 2950 MW capacity have been shut down in the Production Corporation.
He further said that many lines of transmission have been shut down and the power distribution system is crumbling due to the non-availability of electrical personnel at 33/11 KV distribution sub-stations.