No privatisation of state-owned power companies, assures Maharashtra deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis; unions call off stir | Mumbai News – Times of India


MUMBAI: There will be no privatisation of the three state-owned electricity companies, assured deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who holds the energy portfolio, a day after workers from MSEDCL, Mahagenco and Mahatransco went on strike . The state-wide strike, which began at midnight, was called off on Wednesday afternoon.

The agitation had an impact in various districts, including Mumbai Metropolitan Region, parts of which faced outages upto eight hours. A few industries in Taloja were also affected. MSEDCL spokesperson said ‘standby’ teams were deployed to cater to power faults across districts.
Fadnavis held discussions with 32 organisations representing 86,000 employees and 40,000 contract workers from the three companies. He announced that unlike Odisha and Delhi that had allowed private licensing for power distribution, in Maharashtra, there would be no privatisation. “In fact, over the next three years, the gove-rnment will invest Rs 50,000 crore in the assets owned by these companies,” he said.
He further said the government was considering setting up an agriculture company to understand how much electricity input happens in the sector, what is the bill and whether inefficiencies and power thefts were being passed off as non-payment of dues.
Fadnavis said the main contention was that a private company – Adani Electricity Navi Mumbai Ltd – had filed an application with MERC for a parallel power distribution licence in areas served by MSEDCL. “The unions have contended that MSEDCL should have filed an objection as the decision to issue the licence could impact its profitability. When MERC issues the notification we shall contest it and make use of the law to protect the interests of the companies,” he said.
MSEB holding company director Vishwas Pathak said: “Even if a licence is granted, Adani Electricity Navi Mumbai Ltd will create its own network, and have its own consumer base. There is no privatisation of state power discom as nothing will be at the cost of MSEDCL “
MSEB Workers’ Federation president Mohan Sharma told TOI that the power outages due to the strike had left “the government worried and they had to take a decision to prevent further damage”. “We are glad Fadnavis has considered relaxing the age of contract workers and absorbing them in the workforce, while also ensuring full pay and zero commission,” Sharma added.
(Inputs from Pradeep Gupta & George Mendonca)

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