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Govt keen to address public concerns on Smart Meters, Toll Plaza issues: Div Com

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STATE TIMES NEWS

JAMMU: Divisional Commissioner Ramesh Kumar on Friday reassured the public about the efficiency of Smart Meters, while listing the steps taken by the administration to dispel the doubts of consumers regarding the accuracy of power Consumption reading. In a joint press conference, Divisional Commissioner Ramesh Kumar and Additional Director General of Police Jammu zone, Mukesh Singh shared positive updates on the twin significant issues. They shed light on the ongoing efforts of the Government to address concerns related to Smart Meter installations and the Toll Plaza. While briefing the media, the Divisional Commissioner said that these installations are not unique to Jammu and Kashmir but are being carried out across the nation. He explained that Smart Meters offer connectivity and are designed to empower end consumers by curbing power loss. The Div Com informed that a meeting with Civil society was held in which it was decided to install check meters (old digital meters in parallel to Smart meters) to verify the readings.

Detained YRS activists will be released on assurance by prominent persons: ADGP
Jammu: Additional Director General of Police Mukesh Singh Friday said that the Yuva Rajput Sabha activists detained for “breach of peace” will be released if any “prominent person” guarantees on their behalf that they would not repeat such an offence.
During a protest on Monday by the Yuva Rajput Sabha (YRS) demanding the removal of the Sarore toll plaza, at least 27 of its activists were detained for violating restrictions around the toll plaza. Authorities had imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which forbids the gathering of four or more people at a particular place, in and around the toll plaza late Monday night.
The YRS is demanding the removal of the toll plaza on the Jammu-Pathankot national highway in the Samba district, claiming that it was illegally set up to collect tolls from the common people. The Jammu ADGP said that a high-level meeting was conducted over the issue of the toll plaza. “All grievances which came up with LG were taken with the Centre for resolution. A team of NHAI will come here and a ground visit will be conducted to examine all the issues”, he said.
On the detention of the YRS activists, Singh said that some people have been detained for “breach of peace” and anybody else doing the same will be sternly dealt with. The ADGP said that the protesters would be released once any prominent person comes forward to provide a guarantee in a bid to release them. “They will be released the moment someone takes the guarantee,” he said.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Jammu (CCIJ) on Thursday gave a call for a bandh on August 26 to protest against the installation of smart meters in the city. Regarding Saturday’s strike, the ADGP said all issues have been addressed, adding, “We will request them to call off the bandh as all issues have been resolved”, he said.

“The Meters have been installed in a warehouse area where it was found that readings are the same. The same practice would be replicated in other areas for the satisfaction of consumers” he added. With over 80 per cent of the installation work already completed in Jammu, the Div Com emphasized the progress made by Techno and Envil, the two certified companies responsible for the installations.
Clarifying the reasons for occasional high bills, he clarified that any discrepancies in bills were due to past pending amounts and he assured the public that the new system’s bill cycle has been rectified.
“A dedicated grievance redressal cell has also been established, with an impressive 90 per cent complaint resolution rate. Additionally, flexibility has been introduced in Smart Meter installation heights, making it possible to install them on the wall of consumers if suitable conditions are met”, he explained.
It was informed that a committee headed by Additional Deputy Commissioner Jammu consisting of Officials from Revenue Department, volunteers from Red Cross Society, Civil Society has also been constituted to receive grievances and redress the same at the earliest.
Responding to the issue of prepaid meters, the Div Com clarified that in the phase 1st only Smart meters would install. Prepaid meters are not yet started.
“To facilitate a seamless and transparent installation process, the JPDCL officials will accompany the vendors at the time of meter installation to dispel doubts of consumers”, Div Com said.
Managing Director JPDCL, Shivanant Tayal, also cleared the queries raised by the media persons.
The ADGP briefed the media about the concerns related to Toll Plaza. He highlighted the proactive approach of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, who engaged with the Government of India to address grievances. As a result of these efforts, a team from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is set to visit the affected areas within the next two days.
Divisional Commissioner elaborated on the Toll Plaza matter, revealing that Chief Secretary-led discussions with NHAI officials has resulted in swift actions.
The Divisional Commissioner expressed confidence that the upcoming NHAI team visit, accompanied by local officials, will assess the condition of the road, will provide valuable insights and solutions.

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