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Kashmir Faces Woeful Winter As Power Outages Worsen With PDD Employees’ Strike
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Kashmir Faces Woeful Winter As Power Outages Worsen With PDD Employees’ Strike

Since Friday midnight 20,000 PDD employees are on an indefinite strike to protest the government’s move to merge J&KPDD into the Power Grid Corporation of India and privatisation of assets.

SRINAGAR — Several areas in Kashmir are facing electricity outages as the government has failed to negotiate with the Power Development Department (PDD) employees who are on an indefinite strike since Friday against the government’s move to merge the Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Department (JKPDD) into the Power Grid Corporation of India and the handing over of the assets to private companies.

The employees have been demanding the reversal of the government decision, besides regularisation of daily wage employees, and the release of their pending salaries. 

Several districts of Kashmir as well as Jammu division are facing a major breakdown of electricity. Kashmir is reeling under sub-zero temperatures.

The employees including senior engineers and linemen have been holding protests in all parts of Jammu and Kashmir.

So far the government has held two rounds of talks with the protesting employees but has failed to persuade them to join back the duties.

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Jammu Divisional Commissioner, Dr Raghav Langer held negotiations with the protesting PDD employees at 3 pm today but failed to put an end to the strike.

However, the Government has already agreed on two of the major demands — putting on hold the proposal for the formation of the joint venture and ensuring delay in salary is immediately resolved, but the issue of daily wagers is yet to be resolved.

Due to the strike, power outages have hit as long as 24 hours including in parts of the capital city Srinagar, and Jammu. 

“We have two patients in our area who are using oxygen concentrators, but due to electricity shutdown, Mohalla committee had to arrange a generator,” said Abid, a resident of Khanyar, Srinagar,

The area has been facing a power outage since 11 pm from Saturday night.

“We have small kids at home; we don’t even have a Hamam. Electricity has been out for 10 hours now, we can’t survive in this harsh winter without electricity,” said Aamina, a resident of Shopian.

“With this joint venture all the employees of PDD will no longer get the benefits of a government employee, which is very concerning, especially in J&K. We have burnt midnight oil for this job, they can’t just take it away from us,” a protesting JEE told Mountain Ink on the conditions of anonymity.

He said that the government proposal should be equally concerning for the common people. “At first the government will privatise the transmission, later on, they will come for distribution, which means the tariff, which right now is almost Rs 3, will go up to Rs 10.”

Aisha, a resident of Sopore, said that the government should pay heed to PDD’s demands or else survival in this harsh winter is near to impossible.

“If the department has put forward certain demands, the government should at least hold meaningful negotiations with the employees so that a common person does not suffer,” she said.



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