The winter capital city of Jammu and all other major towns across Jammu province are facing acute water shortage as PHE’s casual and consolidated workers have been on strike for the last three days demanding the Omar Abdullah government to regularize daily wagers having completed seven years of service.
There seems to be no end to the ongoing crisis as the striking employees, following failure of their talks with their top officials including Commissioner-Secretary PHE, Pawan Kotwal last evening, have extended their agitation till Friday. Making the situation worse, even various unions of regular PHE employees and water tankers operators have also extended their support to the ongoing strike by PHE workers.
Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Shantmanu said that the administration was making efforts to end the impasse with the striking employees and the PHE Minister Sham Lal Sharma was also camping in Jammu to hold talks with them. In the meantime, administration was also in touch with regular PHE employees so as to get the water supply restored.
There are nearly 16,000 workers engaged by PHE on casual and need based basis in Jammu region for the last several years. Another 7,000 such PHE workers are engaged in the Valley. They have been demanding a written agreement or assurance from the PHE minister or the commissioner-secretary about their regularization.
Asking the agitating workers to call off their ongoing strike, Pawan Kotwal said that their lists have already been prepared and a cabinet sub-committee headed by Finance Minsaiter was at present looking into them. The case was at the final stage and they will get regularized after state cabinet give its nod, he added.
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Meanwhile, sources said that the senior PHE engineers have sought police protection to regular employees as the striking workers were not allowing them to work. They had attacked a water tanker carrying water supply in old Jammu city, besides damaging machinery at some pumping stations yesterday.
Such is the position that people even in Jammu city are seen carrying buckets from one place to another for getting drinking water at home. While many a restaurants and dhabas in the city have downed their shutters as they don’t have water, the few ones still open were purchasing mineral water bottles for their customers.