Protests erupt in Srinagar as women oppose installation of smart meters
Post by Aatif Qayoom on Tuesday, July 18, 2023
Srinagar, July 18: A large number of women on Tuesday took to the streets to voice their opposition against the installation of smart meters by the power development department (PDD). The protests, which resulted in the blockage of road for several hours, were prompted by concerns that the new meters would lead to increased electricity tariffs.
The protesting women expressed their resentment over the lack of reliable electricity supply in their locality and criticized the PDD for prioritizing the installation of smart meters instead. They argued that despite consistently paying their electricity bills, they were not receiving electricity as per the scheduled timings.
This demonstration follows similar protests that took place in several parts of Srinagar, including Batamaloo and Habakadal, on Monday. Despite the mounting public dissent, the Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation Limited (KPDCL) reiterated its determination to continue the installation process, dismissing the protests as futile.
Atiqa Begum, one of the women participating in the protest, highlighted the ongoing electricity supply issues and expressed her concerns regarding the anticipated surge in tariff bills resulting from the smart meters' installation.
Responding to the demonstrators, KPDCL Managing Director Baseer ul Haq Chowdhary emphasized the benefits of smart meters, stating that they were essential to providing uninterrupted and high-quality power to consumers. He emphasized that the installation process would proceed as planned and cover all areas in a phased manner.
Chowdhary also highlighted the advantages of smart meters, noting that they would enable consumers to receive accurate and direct readings on their mobile phones and other smart devices. He urged the public to understand the long-term benefits of this technological upgrade.
Addressing concerns about electricity rates, the KPDCL managing director reassured the public that Jammu and Kashmir had the lowest rate per unit of electricity compared to other states in the country. He urged residents to recognize the favorable pricing structure and emphasized that the installation of smart meters was not intended to increase costs but rather to improve efficiency and customer experience.
The KPDCL remains determined to implement the installation of smart meters, despite the growing resistance from the public. As the protests continue, it remains to be seen whether the concerns of the demonstrators will be adequately addressed or if further dialogue between the authorities and citizens will be required to find a mutually agreeable solution.