Army Called Into Action As Blackout, Power Sector Strike Continues In J&K


Army Called Into Action As Blackout, Power Sector Strike Continues In J&K

Around 20,000 power sector employees went on strike from midnight on Friday.


Large stretches of Jammu and Kashmir continue to be without power as electricity employees carried on their indefinite strike over the merger of the J&K PDD into the Power Grid Corporation of India. Power supply, however, was restored in some pockets of Jammu after the Army, in a first, was called in to help. Personnel of military engineering service reached a grid station yesterday evening.

“Only 15 to 20 per cent feeders in Jammu region are affected. Efforts are on to rectify them. There is no effect in Kashmir. Everything is running there,” Union Power Minister RK Singh said. Negotiations are on with the employees union in Kashmir, he added.

The power sector employees have refused to repair a major power breakdown that occurred over the weekend amid a cold wave in north India.

Around 20,000 employees went on strike from midnight on Friday. They have decided not to carry out any repair and maintenance work until government accepts their demands.

Their key demand is a reversal of the Centre’s decision to privatise assets. They have also demanded that daily wage people be regularised and the salary of the employees be released.

The power intrastate that was built over decades, is being systematically handed over companies outside J&K, they have alleged.

Talks between protesting employees and the administration have failed to make headway as the administration announced that reforms in the power sector are inevitable and they are following directions of the Central government.

Today, the National Coordination Committee of electricity employees and engineers called for protests across country and asked state power unions to  send memorandum to the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir.

They said it is time to “show solidarity with the employees in there as a merger is not in the interest of the new Union Territory”.