NC, Cong members stage walkout to protest power crisis in J&K

Several National Conference and Congress members on Monday staged a walkout from the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly over the government’s “unsatisfactory reply” on the issue of power crisis in the state and border shelling which has claimed 12 lives since Thursday.
NC MLA Ali Mohammad Sagar was the first to leave the House and was followed by party legislators Altaf Kaloo and Javaid Rana and Congress members Vikar Rasool, Usman Majeed and GM Saroori.
Opposition members staged the walkout as Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, who holds the power portfolio, was replying to questions and supplementary raised by various members related to the power crisis in the state.
Sagar took a dig at the government for its alleged “failure” to deal with the power crisis in the state, especially in the Kashmir valley.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister AR Veeri intervened and asked Sagar to take his seat.
However, Sagar continued to raise issues.
“The border firing (by Pakistan) is continuing, claiming 12 lives. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday said the state would not be allowed to become a battlefield but Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh made a statement (that India has shown it can attack its enemies not only on its soil, but also in a foreign territory, if need be).
“We stand with the statement of chief minister as we are suffering (because of border skirmishes between the two countries),” he said and criticised the state government for its failure to send a message of peace from the House.
Sagar also accused Speaker Kavinder Gupta of not giving time to the opposition on the directions of unidentified forces.
“When the opposition raises any issue, our voice is muzzled. The power minister accepted that the work was stopped on Alasteng, Budgam and Telbal grid stations. When the contractor has left, how the power supply will be made available to the people,” Sagar told reporters outside the House.
He said the people of Kashmir are suffering immensely due to non-availability of power in sub-zero temperature and there is no end in sight as at least three more years are required for completion of these projects if the government was able to rope in contractors in time.
“I asked the government not to make the availability of power an issue between Kashmir and Jammu. Both regions need power supply but the demand is more in the Valley due to winter,” he said, adding that the deputy chief minister made no specific reply on how to tackle the power crisis in the Valley.
Earlier as the speaker took the chair, several opposition members rose to their feet and raised the issue of alleged baton-charge on people protesting against the brutal murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua district on January 17, arrest of a youth in Meerut and alleged highhandedness of security forces during the course of a search operation in a village in Homeshalibugh constituency.
NC MLA Ishfaq Jabbar raised the concerns of the people of Ganderbal district saying they were apprehensive about stopping of work on central university there and fear shifting of the university.
However, Education Minister Syed Altaf Bukhari assured the House that there is no proposal to shift the central university from the district.
Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Javaid Mustafa Mir also intervened when NC MLA raised the issue of arrest of Gujjar leader Talib Hussain for leading protest against the killing of the minor girl in Kathua on Sunday.
“He was seeking justice for the girl and was arrested. It is shame for this government,” Kaloo said.
Mir assured the House that the government would look into the incident.