As PDD employees go on strike, Jammu Admin seeks help from army to restore electricity service

As PDD employees go on strike, Jammu Admin seeks help from army to restore electricity service

Jammu: As the strike from Power department employees against the privatization move entered the second day on Sunday, the Divisional Commissioner Jammu has requisitioned the assistance of the army to man electric installations/supplies in Jammu.

 

 

For the last 24 hours, almost the entire Jammu city and various parts of Kashmir have remained plunged into darkness as the striking employees of the PDD refuse to man duties until the administration reverses its decision to privatize the power sector in JK, and

 

In a letter to the Defence Ministry of India, accessed by Free Press Kashmir, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Raghav Langer wrote: “It is to bring to your kind notice that due to strike by electric department personnel in the UT of JK, essential services have been severely affected in the Jammu region”.

 

“We would like to hereby requisition the Indian army to assist in the restoration of the said essential services by provisioning manpower to man critical electricity stations and water supply sources,” reads the order.

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A PDD official told Free Press Kashmir that the “strike will continue till the demands of the employees are not met and a proper plan is not shared”.

 

However, the stand-off has caused immense difficulties in various districts of Jammu and Kashmir.

 

There has been a total blackout in Doda, Kishtwar, Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu region besides several sub-divisions across JK including Pulwama, Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian, and Tral.

 

In Jammu city, several areas including, Roopnagar, Chinore, Muthi, Bantalab, Durga Nagar, Paloura, Rehari, Resham Ghar Colony, Talab Tilloo, about half a dozen localities of Old Jammu City, parts of Satwari, Chatha, Trikuta Nagar and Gangyal have witnessed total blackout.

 

Showkat Ahmad, a resident of Shopian told Free Press Kashmir that in this intense cold condition they are without electricity for the last two days which has affected their life badly.

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“Due to the electricity shut down, we cannot use electronic gadgets to warm ourselves. Water is bone-chilling due to which children fall sick. Senior citizens face severe pain in their joints due to the freezing temperature,” Ahmad said.

 

A resident from Pulwama, Hilal Ahmad said that children are undergoing exams, however, due to the shutdown, they are not able to prepare.

Children are studying under candlelight without any heating arrangements. The administration has no resolution to our problem. Instead of resolving power crises, the administration is making our lives even more difficult,” he said.

Moreover, complaints and distress calls were received from across the Valley against the PDD employees for switching off the grid stations and disrupting power supply to people who are paying bills.

From Ratnipora, Pulwama one of the local residents said that COVID patients in their village are on oxygen concentrators but due to the non-availability of electricity patients are fighting for their life.

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“Some of the families have arranged generators for such patients, however, everyone cannot afford these devices,” he said.

Chief Engineer PDD, Aijaz Ahmad said that the department is trying to get the employees back to work, however, he said it cannot be ascertained how much time it will take.

When asked about the inconvenience caused to the general public, he said, “Everyone is aware of the strike. Employees are on strike we are trying to negotiate with them. I cannot say how much time it will take.”

He added that for hospitals, the department has made sure that the electricity supply continues.

Convenor, Jammu and Kashmir Power Employees and Engineers Coordination Committee, Munshi Majid Ali said that Chief Engineer is not a competent authority as he is also part of the Coordination Committee which is on strike.

“Let the Administrative Secretary Niteshwar Kumar authorize any person on his behalf, but as of now we didn’t get any response from the Admin,” Munshi Majid Ali told reporters.

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