Ranchi: The striking employees of the Jharkhand State Electricity Board (JSEB) today called off their three-day old strike which had plunged the state in darkness after the Jharkhand High Court asked them to restore power immediately.
Passing the directions after taking suo motu cognisance of the indefinite strike, the division bench of Chief Justice PC Tatia and Justice Jaya Roy said severe action would be taken if electricity was not restored within 'ten minutes'.
The bench termed the strike illegal because no prior notice was given by the employees.
The court had yesterday issued notices to Chief Secretary SK Choudhary, JSEB Chairman SN Verma and to the representatives of the striking employees following disruption of power supply across the state and fixed today for the hearing.
The striking employees were protesting against handing over the franchisee of the distribution system of Jamshedpur and Ranchi to Tata Power and Calcutta Electric Supply Company (CESC).
"We have called off our strike. But, we will continue to put pressure on the government against privatization of JSEB," said Prasant Chaturvedi, the convener of the Coordination Committee of the union.
Chief Minister Arjun Munda had yesterday defended the government's decision to hand over the distribution system to private companies and said such decisions on transmission and production should be taken in future to improve power, profits and prevention of power pilferage.
He said the agreement would give 80 per cent profit to the government and vendors 20 per cent.
After inking the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Wednesday, Energy Secretary Vimal Kirti Singh and JSEB Chairman SN Verma had allayed fear of layoff saying there should not be any sense of insecurity among the employees regarding their jobs.