Electrical contractors end stir, won’t maintain lights

Electrical contractors end stir, won’t maintain lights

Streetlight maintenance contractors park their vehicles at the BBMP offices as part of a protest for payment of dues in Bengaluru on Wednesday. DH PHOTO/S K DINESH

Bengaluru was on the verge of darkness as electrical contractors with the BBMP staged an indefinite protest on Wednesday morning. However, the day was saved after they reached an understanding with the Palike. 

The Electrical Contractors' Association had demanded the payment of their dues to the tune of Rs 35 crore. They had decided to boycott all their work—maintenance of streetlights and other electrical installations across the city— indefinitely. But after an assurance by the BBMP, they seem to have agreed to partially attend to their duties, after a meeting at 10 pm on Wednesday.

“We held talks with them and the issue will be taken up in the next council meeting. Since citizens are facing problems without the streetlights, we have mutually come to this decision. We will sort out the payment issues,” said BBMP Commissioner Maheshwar Rao 

Sridhar, the president of the BBMP’s Electrical Contractors Association, said: "The strike is called off temporarily. We will switch on all the street lights and do the follow-up work, but no be maintenance and repair work will be carried out will unless our payment is cleared. We will decide the future course after a meeting today.”

The BBMP electrical contractors staged the indefinite strike in front of the Palike’s head office. On Wednesday morning, speaking to DH, general secretary of the BBMP electrical contractors association K M Raju, said: "We have decided to boycott work from Wednesday, as our contract amount has not been paid to us for the past one year. We had complained several times since December 2017 about it, but the civic body failed to do the needful.”

First meeting failed

Panicked by the sudden strike, BBMP officials had held a meeting on Wednesday evening with the electrical contractors, but it failed.

Raju said: “Officials spoke about clearing only 50% of the pending amount for the time being, but we turned it down. The protest will continue till they clear the full amount.”