Srinagar: Installation of smart electricity meters triggered protests at Chanapora locality here today.
Locals said that PDD officials on Wednesday started installation of smart meters at Chanapora locality. Scores of locals, mostly women assembled at Chanapora road against installation of smart meters in the area.
The residents blocked main road. The protesters were holding placards that read “We belong to poor families. We cannot afford smart meters which generate exorbitant bills.”
“We are from poor families. Our bread earners are sitting idle with no jobs due to COVID pandemic last year. “My husband is a labourer and hardly earns enough to feed us. How can we pay hefty power bills? Government should consider poor people of the society and exempted from smart meters,” said a female protester.
The protestors said that the hike in cooking gas and other daily items have already made life difficult for them.
“We are full of electricity resources but still we are made to suffer by such schemes. If the government wants to install meters in our localities, then should give jobs to our children so that we can afford to pay power bills,” said another female protester.
The protestors had blocked the road triggering traffic jams in the area. The commuters faced trouble as the protesters did not allow them to move from the place. The protesters were demanding that officials should come to the spot to ensure that no smart meters will be installed.
“Everyone is not rich enough to pay the huge bills of electricity. Most of us pay a flat rate which is affordable for everyone. There should be some provision for poor people so that they can also get some respite,” Manzoor Ahmed, a resident of the area said.
Azhar Vakil, PDDs Nodal officer for Smart meter installation said that they are facing some resistance in some pockets of Srinagar.
“We have installed hundreds of smart meters without any trouble. These protests are happening in isolated areas due to misinformation. We are making people aware that the installation is good for everyone and they will get better benefits of electricity due to this,” Vakeel said.