Srinagar: Terming the recent government directive seeking online payment of electricity and water dues as unfair, the National Conference (NC) on Saturday demanded extension of their due dates in the valley, in view of the Novel Coronavirus threat.
Decreeing the government order, widely published by the Department of Information and Public Relations, asking people to pay their electricity and water bills through internet, a spokesperson of NC said, ”It is no less than rubbing salt on the wounds of people.
”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 it’s existence, at a time, when the governments not just around the world, but within the country too, are trying their best to combat the COVID-19 threat,” he said.
He further said that it was the poorest of the poor and the daily wagers, who were hit hard due to the prevailing situation.
”The earning of the daily wagers, mostly unorganised labourers, 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 unorganised labour force, who happen to be the most vast and ubiquitous section of society in Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
”The economy of J&K is already on the brick of eminent collapse, in the wake of decline in tourism, manufacturing and not as much of construction related activity due to the situation that had gripped it since August 5, 2019.
”It has not been too long, since some economic activity had started picking up, only to die down again due to the COVID-19 epidemic,” he said, adding that the order signifies ”unjust response of the present ruling dispensation for J&K” and therefore, must be rescinded.
He said the marginalised traders, casual traders and labourers are the most ill-fated lot in J&K.
”The unorganised sector, who consist a sizeable chunk of our society, do not see any light at the end of tunnel. Owing to the diminutive business prospects in J&k, most of the people had started venturing out to other parts of the country to sell their handcrafts and other items.
”Going through a streak of bad luck, their business is again going up in flames due to the global outbreak of COVID-19. The government seems to have shut it’s eyes,” he added.
Seeking deferment of due dates in making payment of water and electricity by two months, the spokesperson urged the government to subsidise such payments for BPL consumers.