In the latest development in the longstanding row between the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana power utilities over the division of staff post-bifurcation, the Supreme Court (SC) has directed the power utilities to approach the Dharmadhikari committee once again within two weeks. The one-man Justice DM Dharmadhikari committee was appointed by the SC to resolve the issue of employee allocation.
The Andhra Pradesh power utilities had approached the SC, contesting the decision of the committee which finalised the allocation in December. The committee had decided that 655 employees from Telangana must be absorbed into Andhra Pradesh. However, the Andhra Pradesh power utilities have refused to absorb them, claiming that the additional employees would put a huge financial burden on them.
According to The Hindu, the Andhra Pradesh utilities had also requested the court to direct the Telangana utilities to continue to bear the salaries of the relieved employees. The court, however, rejected the request.
Faced with uncertainty, the relieved employees had also approached the court, according to the The New Indian Express. However, the court said that the procedures and recommendations decided by the Dharmadhikari committee will be final for both parties, Andhra and Telangana.
An SC bench headed by Justice M R Shah and Justice Ashok Bhushan was hearing the petitions on Friday.
Both states’ power utilities have been given two weeks’ time to submit their reports to the Dharmadhikari committee. The issue of the relieved employees’ salaries has also reportedly been forwarded to the committee.
The committee’s decision has left both parties unhappy, with Andhra Pradesh looking to reduce the number of employees it has to absorb and Telangana expressing dissatisfaction that many employees native to Andhra Pradesh will continue to work in Telangana.
The issue had earlier given rise to tensions, with the Telangana employees threatening to go on strike if Andhra Pradesh natives continued to be employed in Telangana.
The Dharmadhikari committee, which was expected to arrive at a consensus in six months, ended up taking almost a year to announce what was supposed to be the final decision in December, with repeated disagreements and discussions from both sides.