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Power cut fears in MP as staff go on strike

BHOPAL: Parts of the state may suffer a blackout on Monday as 20,000 contractual and outsource employees of all the power distribution companies are likely to go on strike demanding regularisation.
If the strike stretches into the second day and work gets affected, cities may face power cuts, say sources.
The striking employees will stage a protest at the Ambedkar grounds in Bhopal on Monday, demanding that the state government fulfil the promise made before the 2013 assembly elections that if BJP returns to power, all power staff on contract and outsourced work will be regularised.
Most of these workers are youngsters who are on field duty, so their strike could severely affect power supply, especially in rural areas. A sign of this is that discoms have issued instructions to regular employees to be ready for additional duties in supply sub-stations, said sources.
“Till evening, we have received confirmation of strike by more than 10,000 employees. We will take to the streets to protest against the injustice meted out to us,” said Ramesh Rathore, president of Madhya Pradesh Samdiva Adhikari Karmchari Mahasangh, a body of contractual workers in discoms.
There are around 25,000 contractual and outsource employees who work in the three distribution companies — Madhya Kshetra Vidyut Vitaran Company, Purv Kshetra Vidyut Vitaran Company, Paschim Kshetra Vidyut Vitaran Company — and the holding company of these discoms, Madhya Pradesh Power Management Company (MPPMC).
“We have been requesting all the senior officials and leaders for years, but no one bothered. We are left with no option but to go on strike,” convener of Madhya Pradesh United Forum For Power Employees and Engineers, VKS Parihar, told TOI.
Officials, however, maintain that the strike is not going to affect supply by much. “There are lot of outsourcing agencies and it is not possible for everyone to go on strike. We have sought reports from the agencies to whom work was outsourced and are hopeful that not even 50% of them will go on strike. However, things can get affected if the strike continues for long. As of now regular employees have been instructed to take care of supply,” said an official.
Managing director of MPPMC, Sanjay Shukla, said, “The MDs of the three discoms have evaluated the situation and it is felt that the strike will not have much effect on the supply.”

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