PUDUCHERRY: Employees of the electricity department began an indefinite strike on Monday protesting against the move by the central government to privatise the department even as authorities warned them of stringent action.
The employees gathered in front of the electricity head office at Uppalam and held a dharna and demonstrations. All the counters were closed and their offices in all parts of Puducherry remained locked.
Meanwhile, the superintending engineer heading the department in a release cautioned them of stringent action if they proceed with their indefinite strike. He said the agitation is against the rules and regulations and action will be taken under the provisions of CCS conduct rules. Further, the period of strike will be considered as break in service and no salary will be paid for this duration.
He said staff of the electricity department are discharging a public service and should not indulge in any kind of strike. In a bid to tackle the strike, the department proposes to engage the services of retired AEs/JEs as well as IT personnel on a contract basis if the situation warrants. It has also been decided to perform all the electrical maintenance work through contractors. Action has also been taken to impose prohibitory orders under section 144 Cr.Pc in the main office, all the sub-stations and various other offices of the electricity department, he said.
Meanwhile, the district collector and district magistrate Purva Garg clamped prohibitory orders under section 144 Cr.Pc from Monday. She said the order will remain in force until further notice to prevent disturbance to public tranquillity and prevent danger to human life, health and safety in the wake of the agitation by the electricity department employees.