As the PDP-BJP coalition government has failed to make any commitment on regularisation of services of daily wagers working in the Public Health Engineering (PHE) Department, workers today started an indefinite strike, which affected drinking water supply in city.
Daily wagers are the backbone of the distribution system. Under the banner of the All J&K PHE, ITI-Trained & CP Workers Association, workers alleged that successive governments have betrayed them despite the fact that they are working with dedication to keep the system functional.
“We have been working in the department for the last two decades, but our services have not been regularised till now. At times our wages are not paid for months together. The government has utterly failed to solve our long-pending issues,” association president Tanveer Hussain said.
Hussain said there were 26,000 casual labourers working in the department and all the governments had made false promises to them. “Several committees and sub-committees constituted by the government have been used to fool us. The government is forcing workers to take the path of agitation,” said Deepak Gupta, vice-president of the association.
The association alleged that the government formed a high-power committee before the presentation of budget, but did not bother about the plight of casual labours and no funds had been sanctioned for the regularisation process.
“Our requests have fallen on deaf ears. Most of the workers are on the verge of starvation and are still doing their job. Think how does it feel, every month we wait for our salary, but do not get it and this has been going on for the last six months,” Subash Chander said.
Due to the strike, 15 lakh residents of the winter capital of the state are likely to face disruption in water supply. Present potable water requirement of Jammu city is 47 Million Gallon Daily (MGD) and these casual workers ensure the supply is maintained.