Vehicular traffic on the Jammu-Pathankote national highway was disrupted for nearly an hour on Friday as people blocked the road in protest over erratic supply of power and drinking water to them by the state government.
Significantly, with mercury soaring, people have started coming on the road in the district which elected BJP nominees in all the five Legislative Assembly constituencies last year. Of them, one Dr Nirmal Singh is Deputy Chief Minister holding the power portfolio and another Choudhary Lal Singh is Health and Medical Education Minister.
Trouble erupted on Friday around 12 noon when local people in large numbers came on the national highway at Palli Morh in Kathua town and started holding demonstration against unscheduled power cuts by power development department. Raising slogans against Deputy Chief Minister, the protestors alleged that there has been no power supply to them for most of the time as apart from unscheduled power cuts, the department was resorting to its six hour scheduled power curtailment. They were also joined by workers from National Conference and Youth Congress who accused the BJP of betraying the people of Jammu who gave them the highest ever 25 seats in Legislative Assembly.
The erratic power supply was affecting the supply of drinking water to the people also in areas of Kathua, Hiranagar and Ghagwal making people come on the roads almost daily. The Youth Congress workers on Thursday had locked the office of PHE office at Kathua on Thursday.
Earlier, local people at Hiranagar Morh had locked a senior engineer of PHE in protest over irregular water supply to them. The engineer was let off by them following intervention by senior officers from district administration only late in the evening.
What has been irking the people is that the government has been unable to supply them uninterrupted power even when 90 per cent of the households in Kathua have been metered. Moreover, they feel let down especially when two ministers including a Deputy Chief Minister in Mufti Sayeed led coalition government have been elected in the district, said Madan Magotra, a local journalist.