Ganderbal residents protest against smart meter installation
The residents of the Reshipora area of central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district on Tuesday staged a protest against the Power Development Department (PDD) for installing smart meters.
Eyewitnesses said that scores of women took to the streets and blocked the Beehama-Duderhama road. They staged demonstrations against the installation of smart electric meters and raised slogans against the PDD.
The protesting women blocked the road at the cement bridge in Duderhama which led to the suspension of traffic movement for some time.
The protesters said their families were not in a position to pay the “excessive bills” generated by the devices, so would not allow the department to install the smart meters in their area.
“We already have meters installed in our homes and we are paying regular bills. What is the fun of installing new meters?” a protestor asked.
“Owing to the skyrocketing prices of essentials, our family budget is already stressed and we won’t be able to meet the additional expenses,” said another lady.
Similarly, another protester said, “No one is rich enough to afford the enormous electricity costs. If meters are installed, we will be unable to afford the bills. We are poor families here, and the majority of our men are daily wagers.”
The protesters appealed to the Lieutenant Governor-led administration and Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal to reconsider the decision of installing smart meters in the area.
Later, Dy SP Headquarters Ganderbal, SHO Ganderbal, and SHO Kheer Bhawani accompanied by other officials pacified the protesters.
Pertinently, the government has set a target of installing four lakh smart meters in the Union Territory by 2023. (KNO)