Power employees call off strike in J&K as govt agrees to all demands; restoration underway
Jammu, Dec 21: Protesting employees of the Power Development Department in Jammu and Kashmir have called off their strike after written assurance from the administration to put on hold the proposed merger of PDD with Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCI). An official team led by Divisional commissioner Ragav Langar and ADGP Mukesh Singh held fresh talks on the intervening night of Monday-Tuesday with the PDD employee's association led by its general secretary S Tickoo and gave them a written assurance, sources said.
The government agreed to put on hold the merger of the Power Development Department (PDD) with PGCI and set up committee to take a relook, they said. An official said the strike has been called off by the protesting employees and they will resume duties on Tuesday. He said 80 per cent of power supply restoration have been done. The strike had entered its third consecutive day on Monday.
The withdrawal of strike comes as a relief to the masses as the Valley faces sub-zero temperatures and power outages only made matters worse for the residents, especially in the Jammu division. The protesting employees have also received assurances on other issues, including salaries, from the administration. Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Monday said 60 per cent electricity in the Union Territory was restored and the administration will achieve 100 per cent restoration by Tuesday. The UT has been facing a widespread power shutdown since Sunday owing to a deadlock between PDD employees and the administration over the latter's bid to privatise electricity in the region. The LG said talks were held with the striking employees and as of Monday no dues and salary were pending on part of the government.
"We restored 60 per cent electricity and by tomorrow we will achieve 100 restoration," Sinha said on the sidelines of a function here on Monday. "I do not want to name them, but some people have criticized that the Army has been called to restore electricity. Personnel from REC, NTPC, NHPC, and officers from the army engineering corps have also come. This only shows our commitment," he said.
Jammu University has postponed offline and online examination for undergraduate and postgraduate students on Tuesday in view of the strike. The PDD employees held anti-government protests in Srinagar and Jammu demanding in writing from the Lieutenant Governor an assurance that it has shelved the proposal of merger. According to the sources, while the administration parleyed with the employees, it also visited several power distribution facilities in Jammu to speed up restoration of electricity supply.