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The two-day strike by the Andhra Pradesh electricity employees that pushed the State towards a major power crisis ended late on Monday night as the managements agreed to most of the demands put forward by the striking unions.
After the day-long talks with the managements of six power utilities the former, among other components, recommended to the government a fitment of 27.5 per cent pay hike and two increments for employees up to 15 years of service and three increments for those with more than 15 years service. As an interim arrangement it was decided to extend interim relief of 27.5 pc over basic pay with effect from April 1 this year.
The demand on the hike of wages to the outsourced staff and insurance would be negotiated with them in due course and efforts would be made to send proposals to the government by May 31. However, an ad hoc increase of 10 pc hike in basic wages would be given to them from April this year after getting government's nod by May 31.
Earlier in the day, power generation and transmission were affected to a large extent due to the employees' strike. Generation in thermal and hydro-electric stations went down by over half from the normal 11,000 MW to a little over 5,000 MW towards the evening on Monday. As a result, unprecedented power cuts were imposed on the domestic sector in rural areas and to some extent in urban areas, while the power supply to agriculture and industrial sectors was completely blocked.
Talks between the representatives of 30 striking unions led by AP Electricity Employees' JAC, the managements of APGenco, APTransco, four Discoms and Energy Department officials were on since 11 a.m. Chairman of the Electricity Employees' JAC J. Seetharami Reddy, co-chairman G. Mohan Reddy, convenor A. Sudhakara Rao and vice-chairman S. Prasad were party to the talks that ended positively leading to their call to withdraw strike
They announced that the engineering staff would return to duties from the midnight itself and restore power generation, transmission and distribution to normal extent.
Vijayawada Staff Reporter adds: Generation at three major power plants in Seemandhra has come to a complete halt on the second day of strike by employees on Monday.
Narla Tatarao Thermal Power Station at Ibrahimpatnam (NTTPS, Vijayawada), Rayalaseema Thermal Power Plant (RTPP) at Kadapa and Srisailam project are the ones that are badly hit by the strike as employees of all the departments struck work demanding revised pay scales, pushing the region to the brink of an unprecedented crisis.
In RTPP, officials had initially shut down one unit (210 MW capacity) for want of personnel to take up coal feeding. But they later shut down the remaining four units in quick succession. Power JAC leaders Ramana, Bhadraiah, Bharani Krishna, Pratap Reddy and Vijayabhaskar Reddy said the strike would continue until the demands agreed upon by the management were conceded.
4,480 MW loss
The generation loss at these three plants is pegged at 4,480 Mega Watts (NTTPS - 1,760 MW, RTPP - 1,050 MW and Srisailam - 1,670 MW). Generation at all other power plants mainly Krishnapatnam (output only 75 MW) and Nagarjunasagar (NSP-30 MW) fell drastically due to the strike.
Even if the strike is called off by Monday evening, reaching maximum levels of production from zero will not be possible in less than eight to ten hours, according to official sources.
As the strike continued, municipalities and villages reeled under power cuts, but officials ensured uninterrupted supply to Vijayawada city in view of the latest developments related to bifurcation.
Fortunately, Central Generating Stations (CGS) and Independent Power Producers (IPP) made more power available than what is normally drawn from. IPP and others contributed nearly 6,930 MW and CGC 3,900 MW to the State. Both Seemandhra and Telangana would have otherwise plunged into their worst-ever contingency.
The strike had its impact on Telangana also as Kothagudem Thermal Power Station (KTPS) generated only about 260 MW against its installed capacity of 1,720 MW and Jurala project with 230 MW-capacity generated no power.
At KTPS, unit 11 (1X500 MW) was hand-tripped on Sunday evening while unit 10 (1X250 MW) was tripped on Monday morning due to short supply of coal.
One of the KTPS unites is already under overhaul. Three more units are on the verge of being shut down and the remaining five units are generating power much below the original capacity signalling imminent crisis.
Meanwhile, the employees owing allegiance to the Telangana Vidyut Engineers' Association (TVEA) staged a dharna in front of the KTPS on Monday morning. They reiterated that they would continue their strike till their demands were met.
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