CITU Holds Protest in Srinagar Against the Privatisation of Electricity, Railways
Representational Image. (File Image)
Srinagar: Dozens of protesters led by senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami on Monday held a demonstration at Srinagar's Press Enclave against the plan of privatising electricity, railways, Public Sector Enterprises, public transport and the ongoing installation of smart meters in Kashmir.
Tarigami said he joined the protest, organised by Centre of Trade Unions J&K (CITU) as part of a nationwide campaign, as an "act of defiance" against a fresh ruling by the authorities that bars government employees from participating in any protest to press for their demands.
"The state of Jammu and Kashmir has been facing massive onslaught since the abrogation of Article 370 and the subsequent downsizing of the historic state. What is happening to the people of Jammu and Kashmir is shameful, and still, changes are being made to further humiliate us. Now the LG-led administration has introduced a new rule barring employees from participating in protests," he said.
The CPI (M) leader said that the order and the subsequent warning of disciplinary action is "arbitrary" as he demanded its immediate rollback.
"The order contravenes the ILO conventions to which India is a party. The directive is yet another assault on the employee's and worker's constitutional rights," he reiterated at the protest.
While addressing the demonstration, Tarigami, who is the president of CITU, expressed serious concern over problems being faced by the working class.
"The strike is part of the continuous struggle against the anti-worker and anti-people neoliberal policies of the BJP-led government. The present pro-corporate government is reversing the hard-earned rights of the labour unions," he said.
The senior politician said that Monday's demonstration is part of the series of protests to be held in both the capitals of Jammu and Srinagar against the government proposals that will, he adds, have far-reaching consequences for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. He said that the Central government's preferred approach, termed 'unbundling,' is essentially a move towards privatising the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity.
"There is already a dearth of electricity in our country, but rather than handling it, there will be an increase in this dearth, and the price hike will create more problems for the consumers and as far as our region is considered, despite being water-rich, our Hydel power projects are either not sufficient, and the others are still under construction, but the government has been harping on the claims of development," he added.
He added that the government aims to dismantle state-owned distribution companies, handing over the entire public asset to private players, both domestic and foreign.
"If the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2022 is passed, private distributors will not have to invest in creating their own distribution infrastructure to obtain a parallel license for electricity distribution," he said.
The protesters added that the Central government has also taken steps to privatise the railways with its assets, and there will be an increase in the fares, which will only cause people to suffer.
He said that the consumers are aggrieved and cannot afford inflated bills generated by Smart Meters. Despite resentment, the administration is going ahead with the move. We need adequate electricity but not meters only.
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