In a major reprieve for Jammu-Kashmir residents, the J&K Power Development Department (PDD) employees called off their indefinite strike late Monday night.
In a major reprieve for Jammu-Kashmir residents, the J&K Power Development Department (PDD) employees called off their indefinite strike late Monday night. With the J&K administration agreeing to all demands of the employees in principle, employees are currently on restoration work with immediate effect. J&K has been experiencing power crisis since the protests began on Friday, amid harsh winter conditions and the Army had been called to help.
J&K Power Crisis ends
Jammu Divisional Commissioner Raghav Langer said, “The PDD employees have called off their strike following several rounds of talks with administration. Employees to be back to restoration work with immediate effect. Electricity to affected areas to be restored soon. 80% power restored, major faults to be removed by PDD Employees now. All demands of protesting Power Development Department- PDD Employees accept by Government in principle.”
Moreover, the J&K Administration will write for de-requisition of the Indian Army as the strike ended. J&K L-G Manoj Sinha assured that 100% power restoration will be done by Tuesday. 20,000 power sector employees had been on strike opposing the merger of Jammu and Kashmir Power Transmission Corporation Limited (JKPTC) into the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCI).
Protests called by power sector employees
Since Friday, the JKPTC employees have been on strike seeking fulfillment of their various demands, with the principal demand being shelving of the JKPTC-PGCI joint venture. Talks between J&K admin and the union has failed after the protestors presented a four-point formula to the government – non-fulfilment of the recommendations of the unbundling report, failure to create positions as mandated by the committee at gazetted and non-gazetted levels, regularisation of daily wagers and all power development department engineers. J&K admin and Centre have been adamant that ‘Power sector reforms are inevitable’ as protestors refused to call off the indefinite strike.
Both Congress and PDP have slammed the administration for privatising power sector. J&K Apni Party president Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari also expressed serious concerns stating, “J&K are facing prolonged power blackouts and lingering of essential repair works amid harsh winters”. PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti too claimed that ‘govt wants to sell electricity to private’ to hike power bills.
Similarly, NC Vice-president Omar Abdullah termed it a failure of the J&K govt on civil administration. Noting that the Army had been called in to help with the power crisis in Jammu, Abdullah said that there was total breakdown of governance by J&K govt. Locals too have taken to the streets protesting the power crisis.