The ongoing tiff between Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) Chairman B. Ashok and the CPI-M-backed KSEB Officers Association took a new turn on Thursday when he point-blank told them that their protests will accomplish nothing.
“All what I can say is if they continue the protests, all what will happen is they will have to face the sun and rains as long as they stand out and strike, as nothing is going to change. We (KSEB) will do everything to see that there are friendly relations. That doesn’t mean they can indulge in indiscipline and after abusing the board of directors, return with a mere apology. I will not be amenable to such arm-twisting tactics as I will tell such people to get out,” said a stern Ashok.
The association’s protests started early this month against the suspension of a woman engineer and according to the Chairman, the strike was needless.
The peeved association decided to take on Ashok, but he did not relent and took fresh action when the President and Secretary of the association were suspended for dereliction of duty.
Hitherto, whenever the Left ruled the state, the electricity portfolio was handled by CPI-M Ministers which included present Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, S. Sarma, A.K. Balan, Kadkampally Surendran and M.M. Mani (till 2021).
But when Vijayan took office for a second successive term last year, the portfolio was handed to Janata Dal-S’s K. Krishnankutty, who is known for his clean image and is also a seasoned politician.
He was peeved after the CPI-M-backed union allegedly tried to shunt him out by putting pressure, but failed.
When the ongoing tiff between Ashok and officers’ association had reached a high, Krishnankutty, much to the surprise of all, took a position supporting Ashok.
Even though the suspension of the three officers was revoked the other day to cool down things, Ashok had the last laugh when all the three were transferred out to other places.
The association now wants the three to reinstated to the same place from where they were transferred and until their demands are met, the protests will continue. They had announced on Tuesday they will lay a siege on the KSEB headquarters here and will not hesitate in more harsh methods of strike.