Jammu- Amid scorching heat, hundreds of daily wagers of the Jal Shakti Department on Wednesday staged a massive rally and blocked a vital bridge here, seeking fulfilment of their long-pending demands including regularisation and release of pending wages.
The 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 in the heart of the city before taking out the rally.
Chanting slogans against the Lieutenant Governor-led administration and the BJP, 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.
We initially gave a call for a 48-hour-long tool down strike on June 22 but the government paid no heed, prompting us to intensify our agitation in support of our genuine demands, Ravi Hans, one of the leaders leading the protest, said.
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.
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 said we are not ready to be misled by false promises and want the government to take a call on our demands forthwith .
We will further intensify our agitation if there is no response from the government, he threatened.
Meanwhile, residents of Janipur including a large number of women blocked the High Court road to protest the erratic water and power supply.
The protests were also reported from different parts of the city and Shiv Nagar in Udhampur district against the shortage of water, officials said, adding the protesters dispersed peacefully on the intervention of the civil and the police administration.
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