Strike leaves COVID-19 patients in lurch

Admin likely to deploy final year students of ITIs on essential service duties

By: Haroon Nabi

Srinagar: The “work boycott” by Power Development Department (PDD) employees in Jammu and Kashmir has left hundreds of COVID-19 patients who are on oxygen support at home on death bed. Nonetheless, the government is mulling to deploy the final year students in “electric engineering” on essential service duties.

Complaints and distress calls were received from different parts of the Valley against the PDD employees for switching off the grid stations and disrupting power supply to people.

In Pulwama village of Ratnipora, locals said that 10 COVID-19 patients are on oxygen concentrators since last week, but their lives in absence of the electricity has been put at risk.

The locals said that the PDD employee posted at Receiving Station Narwa, which supplies power to dozens of villages, has switched off the electric supply and deprived the consumers of electricity.

Locals said they are pleading with the employees and concerned officials including Executive Engineer Nazir Malik, Junior Engineer Naveed and other concerned employees to restore the electric supply.

“Our pleas are being ignored by the Exen, JE and the employees posted at the Receiving Station Narwa. We are urging them to restore the supply for the life of the patients, but they are not listening,” Muhammad Yaqoob, a local said.

He said when they talked to the Executive Engineer and JE about the patients, their replies were shocking.

“Executive Engineer told us that ‘when doctors strike work in hospitals why don’t people complaint then. We can’t help patients as we are on strike’,” the locals quoted the Executive Engineer as having said.

The residents of Pulwama have urged the District Commissioner and Divisional Commissioner to intervene.

Vinod Pandit, a resident of Jammu, said that their area is reeling under darkness from Saturday morning but no official is bothered.

Similar complaints poured in from Bandipora, Srinagar, Budgam, Anantnag, Shopian and other different parts of Kashmir and Jammu.

Meanwhile, the Principal Secretary SDD, Asgar Samoon has directed the Principals and Superintendents of all the government it is to submit names and contact numbers of all final year students in “electric engineering” immediately for deploying them on essential service duties by government in view of electrical employees strike. (With inputs from KDC)

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