Protest in Billawar, Sallan against PHE, road blocked

Cong Ex-MLA protests at Hiranagar

Excelsior Correspondent
KATHUA, June 19: Irate public staged protest demonstration against PHE authorities and blocked road at Gurha Dramani near Billawar and Sallan area Dyala Chak for several hours, disrupting movement of traffic today while former MLA from Congress held protest demonstration at Tehsil Headquarters Hiranagar against PHE and PDD authorities today.
Reports from Billawar said that a large number of villagers from Gurha Dramani and adjoining area came out on Jammu-Billawar road at around 8 am and raised barricades. They stopped the movement of traffic and started raising slogans against the PHE Minister, Chief Engineer, local minister and DC Kathua. The villagers alleged that for the last several weeks they were facing acute shortage of drinking water and the concerned PHE authorities failed to improve the situation.They alleged that no senior officer visits the area and due to lack of supervision the situation has turned grim. Even the alternate arrangement through tankers has not been made.
SHO Billawar Irfan Parvez along with some force reached the spot and tried to use force to clear the road and ensure traffic. As the cops used force they had some altercation with the agitating people. In between the SHO slapped one of the villagers. The cops even used force against women protesters. This led to strong protest by all and the villagers resorted to stone pelting. The cops then sensing trouble escaped from the spot. Later with the intervention of tehsil administration and PHE officers, the people lifted dharna around 11 am.
SSP Kathua Atul Goel said that he has ordered an inquiry into the matter. Additional SP Kathua will initiate the probe and submit report with in a week. The police has also registered an open FIR in this connection, he said. He denied the suspension of SHO but maintained that he will take such decision after probe.
Meanwhile, people of Sallan village blocked Dayala Chak-Billawar road for over five hours in protest against the PHE authorities today. Irate public even refused to listen to the Tehsildar, Hiranagar and SHO and warned the cops to stay away or ensure water supply. A large number of vehicles remained stranded on the road for hours together and the passengers had tough time in hot summer. Later, AEE Hiranagar Suraj Gupta reached the spot, the staff installed new motor at pumping station and the public lifted dharna.
The pumping station was not working for the last 4 days and the people were unable to get drinking water. The staff had assured to ensure supply by Monday but failed and the villagers went out for protest.
Former MLA from Congress Party, Girdhari Lal Chalotra, held protest demonstration at Tehsil Office, Hiranagar today along with party workers and his supporters. He alleged that people were suffering due to acute shortage of water and power supply during these hot summer days. The people were shouting slogans against the concerned authorities. They demanded that essential services be ensured to the public. After staging protest for about an hour they dispersed.
Meanwhile, Chief Engineer PHE, Jammu B R Dogra said that due to low voltage and poor supply of power, the water supply has also been affected. He said a large number of motors at pumping stations are getting damaged due to low voltage and the staff of Mechanical wing is unable to repair immediately all the motors due to pending works. He said the matter has been taken up with the PDD authorities concerned.

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