Smart meter row: Electricity Minister holds meeting with Left unions

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Electricity Minister K. Krishnankutty has reportedly assured Left employees unions that the government would proceed with the implementation of smart meters in the State’s power sector only after a policy decision is taken on the report submitted by the expert committee which studied the roll-out options.

The Minister held discussions with the KSEB Officers’ Association (KSEBOA) and the KSEB Workers’ Association (KSEBWA) on Wednesday. The CITU-backed unions had on Wednesday reiterated their strong opposition to implementing smart metering on TOTEX mode.

The expert panel had submitted its report in March.

The Minister informed the unions that the KSEB management has been directed to freeze tendering procedures for the purchase of 37 lakh meters for the Phase I roll-out, the unions said in a statement after Wednesday’s meeting. The unions complained to the Minister that the KSEB management was bent on going ahead with the tender despite his direction.

The two unions said that while they took the assurances in good faith, they would proceed with the agitation plans given the adamant stand of the KSEB management. A convention on the proposed agitation will be held in the first week of May.

The Minister has also reportedly agreed to review the decision to form a selection panel for the selection of members to the KSEB director board. The first-of-its-kind panel, which consisted of IAS officers and the chairman of the Central Electricity Authority, had drawn flak from the unions.

KSEBOA president M. G. Suresh Kumar, , KSEBWA general secretary S. Harilal and various leaders of both unions attended the meeting.

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