PHE workers protest at Jammu, Srinagar

PHE employees staging protest in Jammu (L) and Srinagar (R) on Monday. -Excelsior/Rakesh/Shakeel
PHE employees staging protest in Jammu (L) and Srinagar (R) on Monday. -Excelsior/Rakesh/Shakeel

* Water supply affected as strike enters 11th day

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU/ SRINAGAR, Feb 17: The PHE workers at Srinagar and Jammu held strong protest demonstration against Government’s indifferent attitude, while the water supply has been badly affected across the region as the strike of the employees’ entered the 11th consecutive day today.

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The PHE workers are on strike under the banner of PHE Employees United Front, Jammu province since February 7. Today was the 11th day of their strike. The workers are sitting on protest dharna in the office of Chief Engineer, PHE, BC Road complex besides other district and Sub Divisional headquarters. They are demanding release of their pending wages of 58 months, regularization of DRWs, conduct of DPC of all cadre, filling up of vacant posts, repair/ maintenance of pumping houses/ water stations and basic facilities at water stations for the staff. They held strong protest demonstration against Govt today.
While addressing protesting workers senior members of the Front said that work remained totally paralysed in all the PHE Divisions in the region. But unfortunately the Lt Governor’s Administration has paid no attention towards the plight of the agitating employees.
They alleged that concerned higher authorities have not responded properly to their demands and they have been forced to extend their strike. The strike will be continued till honourable negotiation and settlement of all the issues. They also regretted the inconvenience being caused to the general public due to suspension of water supply.
Prominent Union leaders/ trade unionists who addressed the agitating employees included, Bakshi Singh, Ravi Kumar, Swarn Singh, Tanveer Hussain, Jyoti Kumar, BP Singh, Som Nath, Kulbhushan, Hoshiar Singh, Deepak Gupta and others.
The water supply has been badly effected in many parts of Jammu city and rural areas of the region due to ongoing strike of the workers. The general public has been suffering due to suspension of water supply as over 70 % work is being performed by daily rated workers in the department.
Meanwhile in Srinagar, employees of Public Health and Engineering Department (PHE) today held a protest in support of their demands including regularization of services and release of pending wages.
Under the banner of PHE Joint Employees’ Association scores of casual workers and daily wagers assembled at Press Enclave here and raised their demands. The protestors were holding placards and banners reading: ” Regularize our services”, ” Release our pending wages” and ” Amend SRO 520″.
While speaking to the reporters, Sajad Ahmad Parray, chairman of the Association said “We are extending our support to the employees past casual laborers, IT-workers, land donors; need base workers of Jammu who are on strike for past several days”.
He condemned the death of two employees who died during the protests.”We condemn the deaths and want the Government to act tough against the culprits. All the pending issues should be addressed including the release of pending salaries, implementation of 7th Pay Commission,” he said.
He lamented that over 65000 files are biting the dust in administrative department. “The cases should be addressed and orders regarding regularization of services should be released. People who have completed 10-years of service should be regularized and others be brought under Minimum Wages Act,” he said.
Parray alleged that after the formation of UT the Government is implementing only those laws which are adverse to the interests of the people. “But the laws which would provide relief to the people are not implemented despite assurance for the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi,” he said.
The protesting employees threatened to boycott their services if their demands are not fulfilled. “We are also a part of society and we don’t want the people to suffer but the Government’s behavior towards us is compelling us to take this extreme step, which will ultimately lead the common people to suffer on a daily basis,” a protestor said.