Amid the cold waves, strikes across J&K are on with 20,000 power sector workers on strike

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Amid cold waves, 20,000 power sector workers are on strike due to the J&K strike

Power outages have been reported across Jammu and Kashmir. (File image)

A major power outage has pushed much of Jammu and Kashmir to the brink amid severe cold waves as thousands of employees in the power development sector are on indefinite strike.

20,000 employees are protesting against the government’s move to merge the J&K Power Development sector with the Power Grid Corporation of India and hand over assets to private companies.

Employees have been on strike since midnight on Friday. They have decided not to carry out renovation and maintenance work until the government accepts their demands.

Employees want the government’s decision to privatize assets to be reversed, regularize day laborers, and release their salaries.

Electricity has been completely cut off in many districts. There were also power outages in Jammu and Srinagar.

Kashmir is already facing long power outages in winter due to huge gap between supply and demand.

Employees have been protesting in all parts of Jammu and Kashmir since yesterday. From linemen to senior engineers, every employee of the PDD is part of the strike.

Officials say they have been in talks with striking staff but have not been able to break the ice.

Employees say properties built by successive governments in J&K for decades are now for sale under the Union Territory Administration.

“We oppose the formal transfer of assets. They are selling the assets of the transmission sector. They want to give 50% stake to the power grid against the interests of Jammu and Kashmir,” said General Secretary Mr Sachin Diku. Shakti Employees Union.

“This is the problem of our existence. This is the struggle of the people we are fighting for. If we lose the transfer sector we will have nothing. This is the backbone of the power sector,” Mr DiCo said.

He said talks with the government were underway at the grassroots level and that no top government official had come forward to resolve the crisis and that the power sector would not be sold to private companies.

The government has recently handed over the charge of power to Nitishwar Kumar, an UP cadre IAS officer and principal secretary to J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha. Attempts to reach Mr. Kumar were in vain.

Ajaz Ahmed, chief engineer of the electrical department, said he had been talking to staff but no progress had been made so far.

“I asked them to call off the strike because people were suffering during these severe cold wave conditions: but the staff refused. They wanted to accept their demands,” he said.

In Srinagar, it is minus 6 degrees and cold in many parts of Kashmir. The Center for Meteorology predicts that minimum temperatures and snowfall will drop further this week.

Political parties in Jammu and Kashmir have been accusing the central government of plundering the resources of the people of Jammu and Kashmir since it was stripped of its state status and special constitutional status in 2019.

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