Power Woes | Hike in charges, erratic supply trigger protests in Bandipora

North Kashmir’s Bandipora district is witnessing frequent protests over the hike in monthly electricity dues and erratic supply.

On Monday, locals protested in two villages of Aragam and Naninara in Bandipora and Sumbal divisions by blocking the roads and halting the vehicular movement for hours on the Srinagar-Bandipora road.

In Aragam village, people from several hamlets gathered to protest against the Power Development Department’s recent hike in basic electric charges.

Raising slogans against the authorities, the locals said the hike was not due even as electric supply had been erratic.

Few days back, the elected District Development Council (DDC) members across Bandipora division from Arin, Hajin and Bandipora blocks also gathered at the mini secretariat to press for a rollback in power tariff.

Ghulam Mustafa Khan, a DDC member representing most of the tribal population along with other DDC members said the charges were increased from Rs 108 to Rs 353 and then again doubled.

He said despite Kashmir valley having own resources and several power projects, the hike in charges were not due.

In Sumbal’sNaninara village, locals said that the PDD was resorting to unscheduled power cuts in bone-chilling cold.

The protesters also denounced the hike in monthly electricity charges.

Blocking the Srinagar-Sumbal road, locals raised slogans against PDD.

The protesters were later pacified by Police and other officials by promising them of addressing their grievance.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Executive Engineer PDD, GhulamQadir said that after the monthly hike from Rs 108 to Rs 353 in electric charges, they had given a choice to the locals who genuinely use less electricity.

“The cases of anyone, who are using less electricity and can’t pay the hiked charges, will be considered,” he said.

Qadir said in Sumbal, the problem is overloading that would get resolved in a week after a high-capacity transformer would be installed in nearby Markundal.