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Protest Against Privatisation

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Power sector engineers and employees have threatened to launch agitation against the privatisation of electricity in seven cities, including the state capital.

Convenor of Power Employees Joint Action Committee Shailendra Dubey alleged that industrial development commissioner A K Gupta in a statement has said electricity system in seven cities including Lucknow would be haded over to private companies.

He said other cities include Meerut, Bareilly, Varanasi, Muzaffarnagar, Ghaziabad and Robertsganj.

Dubey alleged that there was large scale bungling in Agra, where electricity system was privatised by the previous government and even SP workers protested against it.

He alleged that by handing over electricity system in Agra, UP Power Corporation Ltd was incurring a loss of Rs 600 crore per annum.

"If the decision of privatisation in seven cities is not rolled back then engineers and employees will launch a state-wide agitation," Dubey said, adding that to chalk out the strategy a meeting of the action committee would be held on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, BJP said that a debate should be held before taking any decision.

"Experiences of privatisation of electricity system in the past have not been very good and encouraging, therefore before taking any decision a debate should be held," party spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak said.

He alleged that if the government would take any hasty decision it would be considered as an attempt to benefit certain people.

Pathak said that previously while going for privatisation interests of the employees were affected.

"The government should first ensure that power tariff does not increase sharply after privatisation so as problems are faced by the common people. Secondly it should also ensure that interest of the employees are looked into," he said.

On the other hand Communist Party of India has termed the privatisation as anti-people and said it would launch an agitation and force government for a roll back.