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.
Jammu Police Foils Bovine Smuggling Bid, 2 Arrested
Nagrota police recovered six cattle from a stubble-laden truck going from Jammu to Kashmir. The accused had made a wooden box inside the vehicle. Although cattle were kept hidden inside this box, the top and front of the box were loaded with straw so that the police personnel posted at the checkpoints did not even know that cattle were being smuggled in the truck.
The vehicle driver, Obad-ul-Rehman resident of Belicharana and his companion Murad Ali resident of Belicharana, Satwari, were arrested. A case was registered against both of them at Nagrota police station for violating the order of the district commissioner and cruelty to cattle. The police are not even denying that the accused must have stolen these cattle from somewhere. The interrogation of both is on.
On the midnight of Wednesday, Thursday, on strong information about cattle smuggling, police personnel blocked the Ban toll plaza on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. During this, vehicle number JK02AW-5753, carrying straw from Jammu to Kashmir, was stopped by the police personnel for investigation. However, when the people in the vehicle were asked about their destination, they could not answer satisfactorily.
Due to suspicion of the words of both the occupants of the vehicle, the police personnel searched the vehicle. When the stubble was removed, the police personnel found a wooden box inside the vehicle. When I looked inside the box, there were cattle there. After the cattle were recovered from the vehicle, the people tried to run away, but the police personnel did not let them escape. The vehicle was seized on the spot. Both the passengers in it were taken into custody.
Devender Rana calls on LG, raises issues of public importance
Former Legislator and BJP leader, Devender Singh Rana on Thursday called on Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha at Raj Bhavan Jammu and raised various issues of public importance.
As per an official handout, Rana had a detailed interaction with the Lt Governor, wherein he projected several demands and issues pertaining to the release of pending payments under MGNREGA; age relaxation issue of the aspirants of Combined Competitive Exams; regularization of daily wagers; expediting pending Class-IV recruitment, besides joining issue of compilers and concerns of BSF/CISF aspirants and vocational trainers.
The Lt Governor observed that the UT government is formulating development plans and policies reflective of the needs and aspirations of the people of J&K and assured him of due consideration of the genuine issues projected during the interaction, the handout read.
It further added that the Lt Governor urged Rana to continue his endeavours for promoting public welfare on all fronts.
BJP govt–Delimitation Commission undermining democratic legitimacy: Harsh Dev
During its meeting with associate members, the Delimitation Commission had invited objections from the latter concerning delimiting the 90 seats in December last. Still, the Delimitation is nowhere in sight and nor has any draft circulated even amongst the members. And neither has any report been shared with media nor put in the public domain.
Therefore, no one knows precisely which seats are proposed for reservation and which are to be deserved giving rise to speculations and rumours being spread in the public and social media. This has also led to public unrest in several areas due to fake, unauthenticated reports being circulated by lumpen elements”, stated Mr Harsh Dev Singh, Chairman-JKNPP and former Minister.
Mr Singh said that it was amusing to note that after several months since its constitution, the Delimitation Commission had nothing to share with the Associate members except a verbal statement that nine seats were to be reserved for STs, 7 for SCs. Out of 7 additional seats, six seats were proposed for the Jammu region and 1 for Kashmir. Neither the names of reserved seats were shared, nor were the members apprised of the names of 7 new Assembly seats.
The members were asked to give their objections/comments concerning the above proposal without elucidating them. However, the Delimitation Commission remained silent over the names of the proposed 90 constituencies or the territorial jurisdiction of the said seats, thereby making a mockery of the members so invited to the meeting.
Referring to the Delimitation Commission’s statements over the number of reserved seats for STs and SCs, Mr Singh said nothing new in it. The J&K Reorganization Act passed in August 2019 had envisaged 90 Assembly seats for J&K UT, and because of the existing 10% reservation of STs and 8% for SCs, it was a matter of common sense that nine seats would go to SCs and 7 to SCs. So what has the Delimitation Commission practically done to delimit the 90 seats assigned to it, was the pertinent question which, unfortunately, none of the Associate members raised in the meeting.
He said that the meeting was merely an eyewash and proved that the commission had transacted no business since its constitution. The delimitation process was delayed at the behest of a nonchalant BJP.
Accusing the BJP of willfully delaying Delimitation and eventually the elections in J&K, Mr Singh observed that liberal Democracy was fast being supplanted by pseudo-democracy after downgrading the state into UT.
With the BJP govt hell-bent on continuing its proxy rule in J&K, the Delimitation Commission seemed to be giving it tacit and overt official support. And this fact had been corroborated during a recent episode wherein the PM’s Secretary had called a meeting of Election Officers including the CEC, two days before the meeting of the Delimitation Commission with Associate members.
Holding the BJP govt guilty of undermining the democratic legitimacy, Mr Singh said that its undue interference and control of autonomous bodies had given the deadliest blow to the values enshrined in our great constitution. Such episodes sadly bear the stink of the demise of independent institutions, and lying forlornly on the wayside was the tenet that law is equal for all in Democracy. Calling upon the Delimitation Commission to finalize its report without any political pressures, Mr Singh appealed to ensure that Democracy moved unhindered.
If the Delimitation of 4121 Assembly constituencies and 538 Parliamentary constituencies of the entire country could be completed in less than four years by justice Kuldip Singh commission of 2002, it defied logic that Delimitation of 90 Assembly seats of J&K had hardly registered any progress during the last 21 months, said Harsh.
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