Protestors demand immediate roll back of decision as inflation has hit them under belt
BARAMULLA , MARCH,05 :
Scores of residents of Khanpora Baramulla on Sunday staged strong protest demonstration against installation of smart meters and demanded immediate roll back of the order from the authorities.
The protestors comprising of men, women and children blocked traffic on Baramulla- Uri highway due which traffic movement hampered for hours.
While sloganeering against the installation of smart meters, the protesting women told SNS Kashmir that residents the area mostly depend on stone quarries to earn livelihood which were banned due to which labourers were rendered jobless so they can’t afford the expenses of smart meters.
Protesters said, “We are poor people. Our men and children have been working in stone quarries but they were banned and sealed. Amid inflation they get only hand to mouth earning so we can’t afford tariffs as per smart meters.”
While demanding justice with poor, the women protestors sought immediate roll back of the drive pertains to installation of smart meters in the area as they have been going through economic distress.
“We don’t have any government employee at home. If Government is committed to install smart meters in the area, then it must provide government jobs to every household in the area, so that everyone can pay tariffs as per smart meters”, another protesting woman said.
Protestors said that Government is pushing them to the wall with such anti-poor measures as it is extremely difficult for them to pay electricity charges as per new tariff.
Latter local administrative officials besides Jammu and Kashmir police rushed to the spot and gave assurance to the protesting people that their grievances will be taken up with the top officials.
The protesting women alleged that the previous regimes for their political interests allowed the National Hydro-electricity Power Corporation’s (NHPC) to take over J & K’s potential source of income, which is now selling power to Kashmiri people at extremely exorbitant rates.
“Why do we install smart meters, these are the previous regimes that robbed J&K of its only potential source of income and threw it into darkness. Why are we forced to install smart meters and pay hefty monthly bills when J&K supplies power to other states for free,” said Naseema Begum a protester.
Protesters said they will not allow smart meters to be installed in their area as they have been paying a good amount ranging from Rs 1000 to 1300 as monthly electricity bill.
Notably the Jammu and Kashmir government is installing seven lakh smart meters across the Union Territory to bring transparency in metering, billing and collection of monthly tariffs to reduce power losses and ensure quality and reliable power supply to consumers.