Entire towns and villages faced blackouts for hours on Tuesday as power sector employees went on a strike after a long deadlock over their demand for equal pay. With no sign of the workers going back to generation units or fixing power lines, the government first banned strikes by power employees for six months.
Later, a meeting was hurriedly convened with union representatives and power restored in the evening.
Over 3,500 workers from the Uttarakhand Power Corporation Limited, Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (UJVNL) and Power Transmission Corporation Limited ceased work on Monday midnight. For years, they have been making the same demands — equal pay for equal work, an increase in allowances and regularisation of contractual employment. When nothing came out of talks with the government again, they announced a strike.
In less than 12 hours, their protest started having a palpable impact.
In Kumaon’s largest city, Haldwani, the subdivisional magistrate’s court went dark in the morning. “Officials were working with no power supply.