By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, July 5, 2018: Power distribution companies (DISCOMS) are now covered under Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) by the state government, which prohibits strikes by employees in power utilities and establishments including GRIDCO, OPTCL, OHPC, OPGC, NESCO, WESCO & SOUTHCO by another 6 months.

The Odisha government on Tuesday had invoked the Essential Services (Maintenance) Act (ESMA) to deal with the strike called by transporters, loaders and tippers under the banner of All-India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) on July 20.

Essential Service Maintenance Act (ESMA) is an act to provide for the maintenance of certain essential services and the normal life of the community in India. It was enacted by the Indian Parliament in 1968.

With the extension of ESMA to Discoms, the strike threat by Odisha Power Employees Union is likely to fritter away. However, Odisha Power Employees Union president Dhulai Sahoo remains undeterred by saying that if the government doesn’t clear the pending salaries of the workers, an indefinite strike will be called by 2000 contractual workers working in 137 sub-stations across the State.

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