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Mourning period over, still no clarity on J&K government

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Jammu/Srinagar: The week-long state mourning on the death of J&K chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed ended on Wednesday, but the stalemate on government formation continued.

The state government had announced a seven-day mourning for Sayeed, who passed away on January 7 at AIIMS in New Delhi.

Despite a statement by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief spokesman Mehboob Beg on Tuesday that Mehbooba Mufti would be sworn-in as the chief minister of the state anytime after the official mourning ended, there was no word yet on government formation from Mehbooba, who is also the PDP president.

Asked to comment on the party spokesman’s statement, former education minister and senior PDP leader Naeem Akhtar told IANS: “We have not started formal deliberations on government formation yet.”

“I can only comment on government formation when formal deliberations are started by our party.”

Meanwhile, former state deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh of the coalition partner Bharatiya Janata Party said in Jammu: “The call has to come from the PDP.”

“We were asked by the governor to respond on government formation. We wrote to the governor that the response of the party (BJP) would be communicated after the PDP comes forth to stake claim on government formation,” he said.

Sources in the PDP said Mehbooba Mufti has not spoken to anybody on government formation or becoming the chief minister in the state after Sayeed’s death.

Same sources said against the background of the PDP president not seeking or undertaking any consultations on government formation, the views expressed by party spokesman Mehboob Beg could best be described as “personal views of Mehboob Beg”. (IANS)

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State Power Development, J&K Dispelled Any Privatisation Of Power Sector

Authorities of the State Power Development department have dispelled rumours of any privatisation of the power sector in J&K

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India, J&K, Power, Sector, Development
The government proposes to unbundle the department to break it into four profit-oriented companies. Pixabay

Authorities of the State Power Development department have dispelled rumours of any privatisation of the power sector in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

For the last fortnight, employees of the state power development department have been agitating against privatisation. The agitation is fuelled by fear that once privatised, service benefits and service protection of the serving employees would be compromised.

Speaking to IANS, Qazi Hashmat, Chief Engineer, Maintenance and Rural Electrification, said: “The rumours of privatisation are completely unfounded. There is no plan to privatise the department.

“The government proposes to unbundle the department to break it into four profit-oriented companies.

“These would include electric power generation (Genco), power distribution Jammu (Discom Jammu), power distribution valley (Discom Valley) and the power buying and selling company (Trade Co). All these would be completely state-owned companies.

“Ofcourse these companies would be profit-oriented while they will protect the service benefits of the present employees that includes the chief engineer down to the level of our lineman.

“All the presently serving employees/officers would continue to be government servants while they serve these state owned companies on deputation,” the Chief Engineer said.

Squashing fears of the employees losing their service benefits, the Chief Engineer said, “Instead of losing any of their present benefits the profit-oriented companies would work out better working conditions and benefits for their staffs”.

India, J&K, Power, Sector, Development
The agitation is fuelled by fear that once privatised, service benefits and service protection of the serving employees would be compromised. Pixabay

He said after these four state-owned companies come into existence after the complete unbundling of the power development department, future employments would be made by the companies and those engaged thereafter would be employees of these companies.

“It will take many years before these companies can employ their own staff. Till that time, all of us serving the department presently would continue to be government servants on deputation.

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“A big advantage after these companies come into existence is that we can check power pilferage, fix tariffs and supply uninterrupted power without any political interference. The Trade Co can decide buy power at peak hours without any official red-tapism involved”, the Chief Engineer said. (IANS)