SRINAGAR: Hundreds of Khidmat Centre holders or village level entrepreneurs (VLE) from across the state Wednesday held protests here at corporate headquarters of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank “to press for the releases of electricity bill payment and other promised service by the government and the bank”.
VLEs, who were later arrested, alleged the J&K Bank and police of using force and violence against them.
“It is sad on the part of J&K Bank that the peaceful protesters who were protesting in favor of their genuine demands were arrested by the Police and force was used against them when there was no violation of law and order on part of the Khidmat Centre operators,” said Tanveer Haji, president CSC Association under the banner of which VLEs were protesting.
“We wanted to meet the chairman of the bank to present him our demands but instead force was unleashed on us by the Police on the behest of the bank’s babus.”
Haji said though the CSC Association asked for the appointment of the chairman of the bank many a times but the members were never allowed to meet.
“Meeting the chairman of the J&K is more difficult than even meeting the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah,” Haji said, adding, “We met chief minister many times to put forth our demands, but the bank chairman never granted us a meeting, which shows that either he more power than chief minister of the state or he does not have answers for our queries.”
He said more than 650 Khidmat Centre Operators (VLEs) were arrested by the Police but were later released.
President of the CSC Association said VLEs will continue their struggle against faulty system of administration that has totally failed to implement this government of India sponsored e-governance project.
Due to the stubborn approach of the bank, the livelihood of about thousand VLEs, who took the root self-employment instead of government jobs, is hanging in balance, Haji said.
“Bank has cheated and deceived us by way of deceiving advertisements to enter into this venture based on PPP Model but till date J&K Bank has totally failed to implement this Project,” Haji said.
Common Service Centers, a Government of India funded scheme under National e-Governance Mission for providing government services, banking facilitates and other IT based services to the rural citizens, have been virtually left useless in the state, as no major service at these centers has been made available so far, the association said.
The initiative, which was launched in 2009 in Jammu and Kashmir and was handed over to the J&K Bank after it has entered into a ‘Service Center Agency’ tie up with state government for establishment and maintenance of these Khidmat Centers, was to provide each village level entrepreneur (VLE) Rs 7500 per month assistance from the GOI funding. But so far neither of any promised service has been made available at these centers nor the VLEs have been paid the monthly stipend, it said.
VLEs say despite a clear order by the state government, and funds made available by the government of India, J&K Bank is not releasing the promised services like electricity bill payments at the Khidmat centers.