Labour unions of three state-owned power companies in Maharashtra which represent 86,000 workers, have called for a 72-hour strike from Tuesday night to protest against the granting of electricity distribution license to private firm Adani Electricity, the All India Power Engineers Federation said in a press note.

The strike has been called by an action committee of labour unions representing the workers of state-owned power companies Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited, or Mahavitaran, Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company Limited, or Mahapareshan, and Maharashtra State Electricity Generation Company Limited, or Mahanirmiti.

The labour unions demand that Adani Group’s power subsidiary should not be given a parallel power distribution licence in Bhandup area of eastern Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai, said Krushan Bhoir, the general secretary of Maharashtra State Electricity Workers’ Federation, to PTI.

“There are no financial demands in this agitation, but we want these power companies owned by people of the state to survive,” Bhoir said. “These should not be sold to private capitalists who intend to only make profit.”

In November, Adani Electricity Navi Mumbai Ltd, a subsidiary of Adani Transmission, had applied to the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission for a parallel licence for power distribution under the jurisdiction of Mahavitaran in Bhandup, Mulund, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Panvel, Taloja and Uran areas, reported PTI.

The National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees and Engineers has also announced nationwide support for the strike by the electricity workers in Maharashtra.

The workers demand that no private companies should be given license to distribute power in areas where they do not have a network of their own.

According to the Electricity Act 2003, a second license can be granted in the same area on the condition that the company has to build its own network where they are seeking the license to supply electricity, the All India Power Engineers Federation press note said.

Adani Power does not have any infrastructure or network of its own in the areas where it has sought the license, according to the release. The workers fear that granting licence to Adani Power would result in financial losses for government companies.