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Rs 4,100-crore EPF scam: UP power employees begin 48-hour work boycott

Yogi government warns workers against arson, disrupting power supply

Virendra Singh Rawat  |  Lucknow 

Rs 4,100-crore EPF scam: UP power employees begin 48-hour work boycott

Uttar Pradesh power engineers and employees proceeded on a 48-hour work boycott’ on Monday against the illegal investment of more than Rs 4,100 crore of their (PF) corpus in scam-hit Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL).

The power employees are demanding the to issue a gazette notification undertaking to facilitate repayment of the unauthorised investment in the tainted company, which is being probed by the enforcement directorate (ED) for money laundering.

Meanwhile, the state government warned that police cases would be lodged against those indulging in arson or provoking other power employees who choose to stay away from the agitation.

Nearly 45,000 employees of (UPPCL) are participating in the stir, although the emergency services pertaining to power generation and transmission are spared from the boycott call.

However, the power employees would not attend maintenance work for two days beginning today, UP power employees joint action committee convener Shailendra Dubey said.

“If the state government still does not act, we would decide our future course of action tomorrow evening,” he told Business Standard hinting at further intensifying the stir.

“Neither the state government has tried reaching out to us nor we have submitted any fresh memorandum other than the demands already made in this regard,” he added.

The investments took place between March 2017 and December allegedly by flouting norms and without proper authorisation.

Last night, the Adityanath government had issued an advisory to all the districts to review the security of power installations and other sensitive areas in wake of the stir call.

In his directive to all district magistrates and police chiefs, UP additional chief secretary (home) Awanish Kumar Awasthi instructed for ensuring foolproof security at all power infrastructure, including thermal power plants, power transmission and distribution substations etc.

While the government has recommended a CBI probe in the case, two senior officials viz. UP power principal secretary and UPPCL chairman Alok Kumar and UP power secretary and UPPCL managing director Aparna U had been replaced following the surfacing of the scam.

At least five persons, including three serving and retired UPPCL officials, have so far been arrested even as the state economic offences wing (EOW) is investigating the case.

Those arrested included former UPPCL managing director A P Mishra — under whose fag-end tenure, the investment in started in March 2017 and continued till December 2018. Two suspended officials viz. UPPCL general manager and PF trusts’ secretary Praveen Kumar Gupta, apart from UPPCL director (finance) Sudhanshu Dwivedi had also been arrested.

Besides, Gupta’s son Abhinav and his aide Ashish Chaudhary, the owner of an alleged bogus broking firm, have also been rounded up in the case, which has been lapped up by the opposition to attack the Adityanath dispensation.

First Published: Mon, November 18 2019. 16:13 IST