L-G invokes ESMA to avoid disruption of power supply in view of employee strike

By Praveen Dwivedi
Photo: City Spidey
Posted: Jan 06, 2019

The office of the Delhi Lieutenant Governor on Saturday invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to avoid any disruption of power supply which obstructs people’s life in the city.

This action was a quick response on the reports that a major chunk of employees working with power distribution companies has planned to join a day-long nationwide protest to oppose amendment in Electricity Bill, 2014.

The protest has been called by the National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees and Engineers (NCCOEEE) accusing the central government of snatching citizen’s right to accesses electricity.

The union alleged that the government’s policy to ease the business in power sector is only beneficial for some profit monger community. The association has called employees in power sectors to boycott work on January 8 and 9 to strengthen its voice against the policy.

Prasanta N Chowdhury, Convener (NCCOEEE) talking to City Spidey said, “This policy has caused enormous problems in all the three sections - generation, transmission and distribution. Some handful of private firms is being given free hand to do their own on expenses of public money.”

However, to ensure that the power supply does not get affected due to boycott of work by employees which may lead to breakdown in several essential services, including transport, the Delhi L-G Anil Baijal has prohibited employees to take part in protest by invoking ESMA.

The ESMA was enacted in 1968 to ensure the delivery of certain essential services and normal life of the citizen are not get affected at any cost and hence it prohibits the employees working for essential services to boycott the work. It includes a long list of essential services in its charter - ranging from the services of post and telegraph, railway, airport, port and transport services in the city.

The LG prohibits the strike by electricity employees and engineers (BSES, BSES Yamuna and TATA power) for a period of six months,” a Delhi government notification said declaring the supply and distribution of electricity as ‘essential’.

A senior official associated with BSES Yamuna, one of the power distribution company in Delhi, told City Spidey that there is no possibility of boycotting work by employees if ESMA has already been invoked by L-G. The official also apprised that the power discoms (BSES, BSES Yamuna and TATA power) has also written a letter to power department of Delhi government about invoking of ESMA in view of the proposed strike.

It needs to be understood here that ESMA is a central law (enacted in the Parliament) but the discretion on the execution of it mostly lies with the state governments. “It is imperative that the necessary provision under the ESMA may be invoked well before January 8 to prohibit strike which may lead to the total disruption of services and the crippling of life for all inhabitants of Delhi,” discoms’ letter to Delhi government read.

TAGS: Delhi Lieutenant Governor / Delhi L-G Anil Baijal / Essential Services Maintenance Act / ESMA invoked in Delhi / Delhi news