Tribune News Service
Jammu, September 21
Daily rate workers (DRW) have warned to suspend the operations of machinery at filtration plants across the Jammu region from Saturday in protest against four-year delay in the release of wages.
On Friday, daily wagers (mechanical) at the Sitlee filtration plant on the Tawi river suspended operations , but after senior public health engineering department (PHE) officials sought 24 hours to take up the issue with the state administration, they suspended their call till Saturday.
There are three major filtration plants supplying water in Jammu daily — Sitlee (17.62 million gallon), Tawi lift station (1.8 million gallon) and Boria (3 million gallon). They are a major source of water for lakhs of people.
“If the authorities continue to remain silent on our plight, staff at other filtration plants and pumping stations across the state will also follow us. So far, we did not join the agitation for the sake of people,” said Shoukat Ahmed, a union leader at Sitlee.
Over 22,000 DRWs are already on strike for the last one month, demanding release of the pending wages. Each worker gets Rs 150 per day and a maximum of Rs 4,500 a month. In 2014 and 2015, a month-long strike had greatly affected the drinking water supply, forcing the government to supply water to people from tankers.
“Workers have not been paid for four years. The revised regularisation policy announced by the previous PDP-BJP government has also been very slow,” said Tanvir Hussain, president, All J&K PHE, ITI Trained and CP Workers Association.
AK Gandotra, chief engineer, PHE, said they had submitted a detailed report to the finance department and a meeting had been called next week.
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