Chhattisgarh declares electricity workers strike illegal


Raipur : The Chhattisgarh government Saturday declared as illegal a proposed day-long strike called by thousands of electricity workers. The authorities said the production and distribution of power comes under essential services.

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About 17,000 electricity employees called for a strike Monday, demanding the state government repeal its order issued in December 2008 under which the Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board (CSEB) was divided into five entities. It used to be one of the most profitable boards in India.

But the government has declared the strike illegal under Section-80 of Chhattisgarh Industrial Relations Act, 1960, and asked the electricity staff not to push for strike as production, transmission and distribution of power come under essential services.

The strike has been called by Employees-Officials Coordination Committee of the CSEB.

In January, the government split the CSEB into five companies. Besides one holding company, four others were formed to manage transmission, distribution, generation and trading.

“We want CSEB to be retained as single entity as done in Kerala,” P.N. Singh, chairman of the Employees-Officials Coordination Committee of the CSEB, told reporters.

“We will go for a total strike Monday to press our demand though government has declared it illegal,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Raman Singh said the production, transmission and distribution of power come under essential services and any move to disrupt the services will be dealt with strongly.

He rejected the idea that government would take a re-look at its decision of splitting CSEB into five companies. “Government had taken the decision to disintegrate CSEB into five companies after considering all aspects,” Singh said.