Jammu and Kashmir National Conference on Saturday termed the recent government directive seeking online payment of electricity and water dues as unfair and demanded extension of their due dates in the valley in view of the prevalent Covid 19 threat.
While decreeing the government order widely published by the department of information and public relations asking people to pay their electricity and water bills through the internet, party spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar said, “It is no less than rubbing salt on the wounds of people. At a first place not every household in the valley has access to broadband, while 4G services are still not working. Under such circumstances how is it practically possible for everyone to access the apps for payment purposes? In addition, the inconsiderate order is coming at a time when the humanity is fighting for its existence, at a time when governments not just around the world but within the country too are trying their best to combat Covid 19 threat.”
He further said it is the poorest of the poor and the daily wagers who are hit hard due to the prevailing situation. “The earning of the daily wagers mostly unorganized labors, hawkers, and marginal traders is already uncertain as far as Kashmir is concerned. Previous lockdowns, curfews and communication blockade also had a crushing blow on those who live by hand to mouth. It goes without saying how adverse an impact the present lockdown will have on the unorganized labor force, who happen to be the most vast and ubiquitous section of society in J&k. The economy of J&k is already on the brick of eminent collapse in wake of the decline in tourism, manufacturing and not as much of construction-related activity due to the situation that had gripped it since 5th of August 2019. It has not been too long, since some economic activity has started picking up only to die down again due to the Covid 19 epidemic,” he said adding, “The order signifies unjust response of the present ruling dispensation for J&K and therefore must be rescinded.”
He said the marginalized traders, casual traders, and labors are the most ill-fated lot in J&K. “The unorganized sector, who consist of a sizeable chunk of our society do not see any light at the end of the tunnel. Owing to the diminutive business prospects in J&k, most of the people had started to venture out to other parts of the country to sell their handicrafts and other items. Going through a streak of bad luck, their business is again going up in flames due to a global outbreak of COVID-19. The government seems to have shut its eyes.”
While seeking deferment of due dates of making payment of water and electricity by two months, Imran has urged the government to subsidize such payments for BPL consumers.