KEA Calls For Kashmir Bandh On January 6

KEA Calls For Kashmir Bandh On January 6

3 January 2012
Greater Kashmir
Mukeet Akmali

Srinagar: Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) Tuesday called for Kashmir Bandh on January 6 to protest the killing of a student Altaf Ahmad Sood at Boniyar, Uri. The Alliance also demanded immediate rollback of the latest power curtailment schedule. “We strongly condemn the killing of the innocent student by Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel. We demand stern action against the culprits responsible for the killing,” KEA chairman, Muhammad Yaseen Khan told reporters here today. Castigating the state government for what he called its anti-people policies, Yaseen, who is also chairman of Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF), said several inquiries were ordered in the past into such dastardly acts, but nothing has come out of these probes. “Kashmir is a police state and there is injustice all around. But this time we won’t let the government to have a free run. We want killers of Altaf to be booked and punished under law,” Yaseen said. He said the government is using pressure tactics to muzzle the voice of suffering masses. “People who come out on roads demanding basic amenities are booked under draconian laws. We won’t be cowed down by such anarchic tactics and would continue our protest against the killing and torturous power curtailment that the government has put us through.” Speaking on the occasion, KEA general secretary Siraj Ahmad said: “It is very sad for Kashmiri community that now even CISF personnel have started killing the hapless citizens. Government is befooling us by saying that these security personnel will not get impunity under AFSPA. Tomorrow some non-local civilians will come and kill us and government will watch it as a mute spectator and tell they won’t get impunity under AFSPA.” “There is no accountability in the state. People demanding electricity are showered with bullets and the state government has lost control over its machinery,” Siraj who is also the President of Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Association (KHARA) said. Pertinently, this killing has taken place when the state government and separatists are accusing NHPC of “looting” JK’s water resources and it has upped the ante over the return of two power projects - Salal and Dulhasti - from the Corporation. Under a new law - State Water Resources Act- the state is seeking from NHPC the registration of its functional and upcoming projects in the state with the government and payment of water usage charges for exploiting state’s hydro resources for power generation -something the Corporation has not agreed in totality and is contesting the case is state High Court. The Government has gone to the extent of terming NHPC “East India Company.” The killing is likely to heat up the issue of what politicians here call “loot of state’s water resources by NHPC.” ON POWER CURTAILMENT Demanding immediate rollback of harsh power curtailment schedule, KEA said that the government should come out with “White Paper” on different power projects operational in the state. It is our right to know what the government is doing with our resources, while on the other hand making common people of state suffer. KEA lambasted the state government for being unable to gain control over major power projects. Alleging NHPC has been looting our resources for a long time, KEA chairman said the power curtailment has direct bearing on our economy. “Common people are suffering due to prolonged curtailment, there seems to be no end to our woes. Traders are suffering heavy losses due to regular power cuts, government is putting our already beleaguered economy through tough times. Students are not able to study due to pesky power cuts, at the same time when they come out and protest for their rights they are fired upon,” Yaseen said. Hailing the previous regime Yaseen said in 2003 there was no irregularity in power supply “but how come in few years our power supply has worsened again.” KEA also demanded immediate rollback of power tariff hike with free power supply to BPL families. While quoting government figures on power supply to Kashmir valley, KEA general secretary Siraj said: “Government is saying that they are providing 900 MW power here, but the T&D losses are 60 percent of the supply. That means people of valley are getting only about 360 MW. So we are paying full power tariff but getting only 40 percent of electricity.” Contesting the Chief Minister’s recent statement that most of the power loss is due to pilferage, KHARA president said: “Government is not able to control corruption, and instead blames poor consumers for the losses.” “We have the capacity to produce more than 20000 MW of electricity due to vast water resources of the state. But government’s negligence and incapability over the past years have made us suffer.”