Employees threaten to shut Khimti

KATHMANDU: Employees of Khimti Services Pvt Ltd (KSPL), who work for Himal Power Ltd (HPL), have threatened to close down the 60 MW Khimti-I hydropower plant if their demand of treatment at par with HPL employees were not met.

At least 89 KSPL staffers working at HPL head office in Jhamsikhel, Khimti Project’s head works office in Ramechhap and power plant in Dolakha have locked up their respective offices since yesterday.

The employees have given a 13-day ultimatum to HPL to consider their demands.

“We work in the same field, for the same organisation and carry out similar work but are biased against when it comes to bonus and perks. We want bonus and facilities on par with KSPL employees,” said Ramesh Maharjan, vice-president of Khimti Hydropower Nepal Independent Chemical and Iron Workers’ Union. “If the HPL does not hold talks with us, we’ll halt all the work at the power plant and the head office.” Most drivers, cooks, gardeners, sweepers and guards at the KSPL are Dolakha locals. They are employed in three areas of HPL.

In January, the agitating employees submitted a memorandum to Ministry of Labour and Transport Management and the HPL.

“Until 2000, we were directly employed by HPL. Later they set up KSPL as a new company. We were assured of equal pay and perks prior to our transfer. It turned out to be a false assurance once we were into the new company,” said Kashi Nath Bajgain, a cook at KSPL.

Tom Solberg, general manager, HPL, said his was a separate entity and the KSPL employees’ agitation against HPL was not justified.

“The facilities and bonuses they are talking about are impractical,” said Solberg. He said the company was generating close to its installed capacity at a time when the nation has long suffered power outage.