Srinagar: The residents of Chinkral Mohalla here today staged a protest against installation of Smart Meters in their area.
The locals said that PDD officials Monday came to install Smart Meters in the locality triggering protests from locals there. Scores of locals, mostly women assembled on roads against the move to install smart meters in the area. The protesters said that given their weak financial background, they are unable to make the ends meet. They fear that smart meters will end up increasing their monthly electricity bill.
“We are from poor families. Our men and educated youth are jobless. How can we afford these smart meters? Most of the locals here are either roadside vendors or labourers. How can we pay hefty bills when we are unable to feed ourselves? The government should consider poor people of society, and poor people like us should be exempted from this,” said a female protester.
The protestors said that the hike in cooking gas and other daily items has 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 give jobs to our children so that we can afford to pay bills as per smart meters,” said another female protester.
The protestors said that despite erratic power supply, they are paying power tariffs in thousands. They said in such scenarios, they cannot afford bills from smart meters.
“Everyone is not rich enough to pay the huge bills for 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 and will not need to hit the streets. We are not getting basic commodities in enough quantity, and now we are asked to pay via smart meters,” said the protesting locals.
Last week another locality in the same area protested against the installation of smart meters. The locals appealed to the authorities to look into the issue and exempt the poor of the area from Smart Meters.