KASHMIR NEWS TRUST #KNT
A large number of female protesters blocked the traffic in the Tengapora Batamaloo area of Srinagar’s uptown against the installation of smart electricity meters by the electricity department. They raised the issue of inflated power bills and said they won’t be able to pay heft power bills after the installation of what they said ‘anti-family’ smart meters.
Police faced tough time in dispersing these protesters who raised slogans against the government and power development department.
They alleged that government is hell-bent to harass poor people. “Instead of pursuing pro-people policies, new ways and means are being found to harass and suppress the poor people,” one of the female protesters told news agency Kashmir News Trust.
One of the locals claimed that the smart meters are not accurate and compared to normal meters, the readings are always higher.
Pertinently, people inhibited in areas where smart meters have been installed are alleging that PDD is issuing inflated bills and consumers are getting double to triple the bills they used to get in the past.
“We are ready to pay Rs 100 or 200 extra on a monthly basis but we can’t afford the bills after the installation of these meters,” one of the protesters said adding that they have not seen any relief from the government so far.
“We will hold protests and refuse to pay bills if the government does not accept our demand,” they said.
The installation of these meters has triggered protests almost in every area where these have been installed. In some areas, Power Development Department officials got police cases registered against the protesters.
Cutting across party lines, all political parties have been opposing the installation of these meters.
“In the absence of any elected government in Jammu and Kashmir, people have no access to power corridors. This too shall pass,” said a protester. [KNT]