EPF scam: UPPCL employees boycott work

Lucknow, Nov 18 (PTI) The Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) employees on Monday began their 48-hour work boycott against the provident fund scam and sought a government guarantee for the safe return of their money invested in the DHFL.

Over Rs 2,600 crore of the state power employees' provident fund (PF) was reportedly invested in the scam-hit Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL), prompting the state government to order a CBI probe.

However, the units generating power have been exempted from the protest to prevent grid failure.

Led by Vidyut Karamchari Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti (VKSSS), a joint forum of power employees and engineers, about 45,000 employees of the power department began their protest at 8 am on Monday for 48 hours, its convenor Shailendra Dubey said.

The employees are demanding issuance of a notification by the government taking responsibility for safe return of their money, invested in DHFL by the Uttar Pradesh Power Sector Employees' Trust.

The employees are also demanding arrest of the former chairman of the corporation and other IAS officers responsible for the scam, Dubey said, adding that they converged at the Shakti Bhawan in Lucknow while in other districts also they held protest meetings.

The state's power minister Shrikant Sharma, while terming the work boycott as politically motivated, said that government was taking full care of the employees.

'The employees are like a family for us. We are taking full care of them to ensure that they do not face any problems. The work boycott is politically motivated,' Sharma said.

The home department has also directed all district magistrates and police chiefs to ensure proper security of all employees who are not taking part in the work boycott and vital installations in their areas.

Principal secretary Home, Avnish Kumar Awasthi, in a letter to the respective DMs and police chiefs has asked them to extend security to the vital installations of the power department and take stern action against staff damaging property and instigating others to join the protest.

The VKSSS has alleged that the bureaucrats are misguiding the government against issuing a notification for ensuring payment of their money.

The investment in DHFL was made between March 2017 and December 2018, it claimed.

The Uttar Pradesh Economic Offences Wing (EOW) probing the case has so far arrested five people including senior officials of the Corporation in connection with the UP power corporation's Rs 2,600-crore in DHFL. PTI SAB RHL