Mumbai: A section of state electricity workers in Mumbai, Thane, Nashik, Raigad and other districts have called for a strike on January 4 against privatisation of government-run utilities. Sources said they will protest at the respective district collectors’ offices.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has accused the State Government of conspiring to hand over the state-run electricity distribution company, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL or Mahavitaran), to private conglomerates like the Adani group.
In a statement released on Monday, Mumbai unit president and AAP national executive member Preeti Sharma Menon said that the party fully supports the proposed strike.
In Nov 2022, an Adani group company had sought licence for expanding its power distribution business into more areas of Mumbai. In an advertisement published in several newspapers, Adani Electricity Navi Mumbai (AENM) had said it has approached the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) for a distribution licence in areas under the jurisdiction of Mahavitaran in Bhandup, Mulund, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Panvel, Taloja and Uran areas, along with its listed parent Adani Transmission.
Ms Menon said in her statement that after airports, ports, BSES (a power firm taken over by the group) and Dharavi redevelopment projects, state-owned energy distribution company Mahavitaran, which distributes electricity to villages in Maharashtra, is also being handed over to the Adani group by the BJP, a key constituent of the Maharashtra government.
She said, “Electricity consumers of Mahavitaran, thousands of workers of Mahavitaran, trade unions and people’s representatives have expressed strong displeasure and opposed the Central government’s privatisation policy.”
Ms Menon alleged, “The people of these villages make up the bulk of the labour force and are very poor. Today, in cities like Mumbai, after the privatisation of BSES and its takeover by the Adani group, we are witnessing an increase in electricity tariffs. Common Mumbaikars are being looted.”
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