The drinking water supply in a major part of Jammu city remained disrupted for the fourth consecutive day as 24,000 daily wagers serving in the Public Health Engineering (PHE) department continued their strike demanding regularisation.
Yesterday, the meeting between daily wagers’ representatives and the Chief Engineer (PHE) ended in a deadlock as the striking workers demanded written assurances from the government before resuming work.
In most parts of the city, residential areas have not received water supply, compounding problems in hot weather conditions. Workers are demanding regularisation in the department as accepted by a committee established by the previous Omar Abdullah-led government in 2009 to regularise those people who had worked in the respective departments since 1994.
“We cannot be fooled anymore. Till we get a written assurance, the strike will continue. We understand that people are suffering but the government is responsible for it as it has always betrayed us,” said Tanveer Hussain, president, All J&K PHE, ITI Trained and CP Workers Association.
Striking workers have also demanded a meeting with Minister for PHE Sukhnandan Choudhary to get some written assurances to end “years of neglect”.
“The water supply is not regular for the last few days. It is very frustrating in the summer season. The administration should sort out the issue with workers to ensure a proper supply,” said Kapil Sharma, a resident of New Plot.
Daily wagers are the backbone of the water distribution department but thousands of them are waiting to be absorbed as permanent employees.
However, a senior PHE official said the issue could be resolved if the government takes a decision. “The regularisation issue can only be resolved by the state. The department cannot do anything. We have distributed duties among permanent staff to ensure the supply till the issue is resolved,” the official said.