Seemandhra electricity employees put strike plan on hold

In a last-minute intervention by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, electricity employees of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema districts put on hold their strike from Wednesday midnight, against the bifurcation of the State.

They would now go on a 72-hour token strike which would not affect power supply, especially to hospitals, drinking water, agriculture and other essential services.

The decision on putting off the strike was taken after leaders of APGenco, APTransco, Discom employees’ joint action committee held talks with Mr. Reddy at his camp office on Tuesday evening. Otherwise, there was the threat of not only 13 districts of the region being plunged into darkness but derailing the entire southern grid due to possible tripping of generating stations. Mr. Reddy told them that their strike would cause inconvenience to the consumers.

The strike was supposed to cover 11 districts of eastern and southern power distribution companies and two districts of the central power distribution company – Kurnool and Anantapur. It was called by the JAC comprising 35 associations of various trades in transmission and generation corporations.

The JAC served the strike notice on the managements recently following the ongoing non-cooperation it had been observing ever since the CWC gave its green signal for creation of separate Telangana. Its members also applied mass casual leave on September 5.

Appealing to the staff to reconsider the strike in public interest, Transco Chairman and Managing Director Suresh Chanda and APGenco MD K. Vijayanand said, at a press conference this morning, power cut would be imposed depending on generation if the employees went ahead with the agitation.

They warned that the strike would have an adverse impact on the supply position which was already precarious though inflows into reservoirs due to a good monsoon rescued the situation. “There is also tremendous pressure on the financial position of power utilities as they are leading a hand-to-mouth existence. The situation may worsen,” Mr. Chanda observed.

Mr. Vijayanand said Genco was geared to overcome generation problems as seen from the manner in which the shutdown of 1,050 MW Rayalaseema thermal power station due to flooding was handled today.

A 21.5 cm rain near Muddanur resulted in Kalamala vagu overflowing and water entering the coal handling plant and other facilities at the station. Fortunately, the water remained at the ground level while the generating units were at a height of 70 metres.