PHE daily wagers stage massive rally for regularization, block Tawi bridge

Protesting daily wagers blocking Tawi bridge on Wednesday. -Excelsior/Rakesh
Protesting daily wagers blocking Tawi bridge on Wednesday. -Excelsior/Rakesh

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, June 29: Seeking regularization and release of pending wages, hundreds of daily wagers of the Jal Shakti (PHE) Department staged a massive rally and blocked Tawi bridge here today.

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Amid scorching heat and humid weather, the protesting daily wagers staged a sit on the ever busy Tawi bridge for more than an hour and completely paralyzed vehicular traffic thus leading to a chaos like situation in the area, including the flyover from B C Road.
Shouting slogans against the LG administration and BJP, the protesting daily wagers were demanding their regularization, release of their pending wages and wages at par with other Union Territory, etc. They threatened to further intensify their agitation if there was no response from the Government over their demands.
Earlier, the protesting workers, who are on a tool-down strike for the past one week, assembled under the banner of Public Health Engineering (PHE) Employees United Front at the main office complex of the Chief Engineer at B C Road.
Raising slogans the BJP and Lieutenant Governor-led administration, the protesters tried to move towards the Civil Secretariat but were stopped by police personnel who were deployed in strength to maintain law and order.
After a brief scuffle, the protesters managed to break the police cordon and moved towards Jewel Chowk where they blocked the Tawi bridge, causing a massive traffic jam in the city.
According to Ravi Hans, one of the leaders leading the protest, they had initially given a call for 48-hour-long tool down strike on June 22 but the Government paid no heed, prompting them to intensify the agitation in support of their genuine demand.
“This Government is only buying time by giving false assurances. We met Lt Governor and senior officers of his administration besides the local BJP leadership over the past two years and were assured that all our genuine demands will be addressed within a short period of time,” Hans said. He blamed the administration for the suffering of the people due to the non-availability of drinking water over the past one week and reiterated that the daily wagers were not ready to be misled by false promises and wanted the Government to take a call on their demands forthwith.
The protesting daily wagers dispersed off after more than an hour and announced to continue their protest till the Government concedes their long pending demands.
Pertinent to mention that over 60,000 daily wagers, casual labourers and other workers are performing their duties in various departments over the past two decades and are regularly holding protests in both Jammu and Srinagar in support of their long-pending demands including regularisation, implementation of Minimum Wages Act and release of their pending wages.