J&K power department employees call off strike, begin work to restore electricity supply
The administration assured the protestors that it will put on hold the proposed privatisation of the power sector.
Employees of Jammu and Kashmir’s Power Development Department on Tuesday called off their agitation after an agreement was reached between the Union Territory administration and the protestors, The Indian Express reported.
Divisional Commissioner of Jammu Raghav Langer and one of the protest leaders, Sachin Tickoo, made the announcement on ending the strike.
“An agreement has been reached with the employees, and they will resume work immediately,” Langer said. “The employees have been directed to restore power supply to the affected areas forthwith so that the people don’t face any further problems.”
Jaipal Sharma, another protest leader, said that the employees have begun work to restore power supply.
Over 20,000 employees of the power department had been on strike since Sunday, leaving large parts of the Union Territory without electricity amidst a harsh cold wave.
The employees opposed the decision to privatise some assets and questioned the delay in salary disbursement. They also opposed the merger of the J&K Power Development Department into the Power Grid Corporation of India.
On the intervening night between Monday and Tuesday, the administration gave the protestors a written assurance that it will put on hold the proposed merger, PTI reported, citing unidentified officials.
The government will reportedly set up a committee to re-examine the matter. The administration also gave assurances to the agitating employees on other matters, including salaries.
An official said that 80% of the power restoration work has now been done, according to PTI.
Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said that authorities had restored electricity in 60% of the affected areas on Monday, and will restore electricity in 100% of the places by Tuesday.
“Many generations here have spent a long time hoping that they will get electricity for 24 hours,” he said at an event. “Some steps had been taken towards undertaking reforms. It is unfortunate that people had remained inactive for a long time...do not want the system to run properly.”
On Monday, the Indian Army deployed troops at major power stations in Jammu and Kashmir to restore electricity cut off due to the strike. This was after the administration sought the Army’s assistance.