Cong, PDP, NC, CPI, others seek roll back on decision

Engineers of SHGs protesting against Govt in Jammu and Srinagar on Thursday. — Excelsior/Rakesh/Shakeel
Engineers of SHGs protesting against Govt in Jammu and Srinagar on Thursday. — Excelsior/Rakesh/Shakeel

SHG engineers protest against J&K UT Admn

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU/ SRINAGAR, Aug 13: Thousands of self employed engineers working through Self Help Groups (SHGs) in various Govt Departments today held strong protest across J&K against the most controversial and anti-youth decision of the J&K UT Administration to abolish SHGs and their work quota while several political parties and social organizations strongly opposed the decision and demanded its roll back without any more delay.

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The engineers of SHGs led by state president, Sayed Parvez held strong protest outside the office of Director Employment near Lal Chowk in Srinagar while the self employed engineers from Jammu region led by provincial president Jagpaul Singh stated protests outside the office of Divisional Commissioner Jammu at Rail Head Complex, Nirman Bhawan (PWD Complex) Jammu and outside the office of Dy Director Employment at Green Belt, Gandhinagar.
The agitating young engineers shouted loud slogans against Lt Governor, Manoj Sinha, Chief Secretary, Comm/Secy R&B and J&K UT Government. They also raised slogans against BJP Govt at the Centre. They condemned the anti-youth move of the J&K Govt and demanded that Govt must revoke its controversial order issued without applying mind. They claimed that over one lakh people will be affected with this decision.
Similar protests were held at Kathua, Samba, Reasi, Udhampur, Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu region. In Kashmir region, besides Srinagar city, the protests were also held at Ganderbal, Anantnag, Shopian, Kupwara, Bondipora and Sumbal. There was strong anger among the youth and they alleged that inspite of providing jobs to the trained engineers, the J&K UT Government was trying to snatch their livelihood. They said their parents spent lakhs of rupees on their engineering (B.Tech/ M Tech ) degrees but Government failed to provide them job for the last many years. For the last over 7-8 years not even single post of JE was advertised. It is most shameful on the part of UT Administration to take such decisions of snatching their bread and butter.
A group of self employed engineers after protest outside Chief Engineers R&B office at Jammu later submitted a memorandum to the Chief Engineer, Romesh Kikloo. The Chief Engineer told that Administrative Department had sought data from him on SHGs which he had forwarded to the Government. Kikloo said most of the engineers including he has supported the cause of unemployed engineers and moreover, he has never uttered anything against their working. In Kathua, the protesting youth submitted memorandum to the Dy Commissioner.
In Srinagar also, the protesting SHGs engineers submitted memorandum to the Director Employment and gave five days ultimatum to the Government to review its decision, failing which thousands of unemployed engineers along with other unemployed youth would come out on the roads along with their families and intensify their agitation.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) today said that the abolition of SHGs, their work quota of 30% was an assault on the livelihood of thousands of engineers involved in the construction work. The Party asked the Administration to revoke the decision to avoid further chaos in J&K.
JKPCC president and former minister GA Mir slammed the UT Administration for abolishing the SHGs , their work quota and said thousands of qualified engineers involved in the construction work will be left jobless by this inhuman decision. He termed the abolition of SHGs as arbitrary and a decision taken without doing any exercise. Mir urged the UT Administration not to indulge in such heartless activities, as that, people of J&K have already suffered enormously by many arbitrary decisions.
JKPCC vice presidents Raman Bhalla (Ex-Minister) & Ghulam Nabi Monga (Ex-MLC) , general secretary and former minister Yogesh Sawhney, chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma ( Ex-MLC), Youth Congress president Uday Bhanu Chib condemned the decision of the J&K Administration and demanded that decision of abolishing SHGs be revoked without any delay. The Congress leaders cautioned the UT Administration of serious ramifications if it failed roll back the anti-youth decision. Bhalla slammed the BJP Government for taking such at a time when the unemployment in J&K is already at an alarming rate. He alleged that inspite of providing jobs to the highly qualified engineers, this Govt was snatching their self employment.
Expressing surprise over the move to disengage SHG engineers from the government contracts, National Conference Provincial president Devender Singh Rana today cautioned the administration to desist from pushing the Jammu and Kashmir youth towards a situation of despair and hopelessness.
“In an era of the so-called start-up boom across the country, it is like sprinkling salt on the wounds of those struggling to stand-up on their own as entrepreneurs for self-sustenance and generating jobs for others”, Rana said after listening to the issues raised by a delegation of the self-help group engineers and unemployed trained Physical Education teachers, which called on him this morning.
“It is quite intriguing that instead of generating employment to tackle the burning problem, the administration is promoting and incentivising unemployment”, he said while questioning the rationale behind the decision, especially in the backdrop of these self-help groups doing well in their respective pursuits. Rana sought a review in the decision, saying this is not the only area that has become the target of the administration but other areas also speak of administrative apathy.
Terming the abolition of SHGs of unemployed engineers a drastically calamitous measure, PDP questioned Govt’s decision which will render thousands jobless. In a statement, PDP general secretary Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura said that the creation of SHGs for unemployed engineers of J&K was a historic measure taken by then Chief Minister Mufti Mohd Sayeed and later when PDP president Mehbooba Mufti assumed the office, she enhanced the work contract from 20 to 30 %. But, it was ironic to find government taking such bizarre measures through which livelihood to thousands of educated youth will be snatched and their families left to suffer. “The Government is robbing people of their identity, livelihood and is inventing new methods to push them towards the wall. All such decisions through which Kashmiris will be systematically deprived, hounded and humiliated are taken sans remorse,” Hanjura maintained.
Senior CPI(M) leader Mohd Yousuf Tarigami (Ex-MLA) has said that the decision of the J&K administration to abolish Self Help Groups of engineers is another glaring example how the BJP Government is hell bent to deprive people of their livelihood.
He said over 15000 young unemployed engineers are earning their bread and butter by working through SHG in various departments for the last more than 15 years. About 2500 SHGs from various streams like Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Structural, etc are working through these groups and contributing for nation building since 2004. But the Govt is making all efforts to make those who are already in employment, lose their jobs. The abrupt and wrong decision of the administration has shocked the families of these hapless engineers. The anti-youth decisions of J&K administration has sparked huge resentment throughout the region. The UT Administration must take back this anti-youth decision, Tarigami asserted.
Team Jammu led by Zorawar Singh Jamwal expressed shock over the anti-youth and anti-people decision of the J&K UT Administration. He appealed to the Lt Governor M K Sinha to revoke the decision and win the confidence of the youth who have come out on the roads to express their anger.
Ruheena Shahzad, a senior BJP leader has said that abrupt decision of the UT Administration would render hundreds of engineers jobless. She urged upon the Lt Governor to intervene into the matter and revoke this decision.