By Okram Bimol
IMPHAL, February 3: The corporatisation of the state Electricity department continues to face severe opposition from the employees of the department ever since the government announced it.
The main concern of the employees being their job security and stability, which they fear will not be the same once the department is corporatised.
The Manipur Electricity Employees’ Union has been spearheading a campaign demanding regularisation of the work charge and muster roll employees of the department.
Now the department has been changed to the Manipur State Power Distribution Company Limited, nevertheless, the government has failed to respond to the demands.
The union has been leading several agitations including a mass cease work strike.
The employees have been undergoing a cease work strike since February 26 bringing the whole set up of the former state department to a standstill.
In the meantime, as is the normal fall-out or consequence of all such agitations birthed by the organisations-government face-off, the public is always the first to feel the heat.
The Manipur government had on an ambitious mission introduced pre-paid power supply in the state capital city during the early part of 2012.
Ever since, the union started its cease-work strike, the lone pre-paid counter at the department’s Keishampat building has remained closed much to the dismay of consumers whose balance were running low.
Now, the counter has remained shut for more than a week with the union still adamant on continuing with the cease-work strike until their demands are met with.
State government employees of all departments are also left in an anxious state of mind, by the indefinite strike. The employees need a no-certificate issued by the electricity department every six months to withdraw their salaries.
With the department closed for the past one week, any employee who need the certificate are left in a lurch.
“We are sorry for all the inconveniences caused to the public by the agitation,” said Manipur Electricity Employees’ Union working president Ranapratap.
“However, there will be no consideration and will continue with the agitation until and unless the demands are met with by the authorities,” he said.
He continued that there are around 2800 employees of the department and as of now staff of only the headquarter is on strike.
Unless the demands are met, the union will further call on the staff of all sub-stations to enter into the strike, he continued.
Once, the department is corporatized, the fate of the staff will fall in the hands of the employers, he continued.
On the other hand, the work charge and muster roll employees have been rendering their services for the past 20-30 years, he said.
He continued many have died while trying to fix faulty wires.
The state government has remained deaf on the demands of the employees, he lamented.