Jammu, Feb 12 : A Public Health Engineering (PHE) worker died on Tuesday during a protest in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said, as a senior government officer appealed to the striking workers to end the ongoing agitation and resume their duties.
The PHE daily wagers are on strike across the Jammu region since February 7 in support of their various demands, including release of pending salaries and regularisation of their services.
Mohammad Shabir (40), a resident of Kotdarda village, collapsed suddenly during a sit-in outside the PHE office in Rajouri town and was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead, the officials said.
Carrying the body of the deceased, the protesting workers later blocked the main road and raised slogans against the alleged callousness of the administration towards their plight before dispersing off peacefully, they said.
Chief Engineer PHE Sanjeev Kumar Chadda said Shabir died of a natural cause and requested the workers to resume their duties, assuring that the administration is looking into their demands.
"The strike by the workers has caused a lot of inconvenience to the people... though 80 per cent water supply is normal, the protesting workers had damaged some equipment at various pump stations hitting the water supply," he said, adding that the department has pressed water tankers to meet the requirement in the areas where there is scarcity of water.
The PHE Employees United Front, which is spearheading the ongoing agitation, said the workers had repeatedly highlighted their issues but no action was taken by the administration till date forcing them to go for the strike.
Regretting inconvenience to the people due to suspension of the water supply, it said the government should come out with a one-time settlement of their demands forthwith.