Pampore: A group of truckers and labourers on Wednesday staged protest against the state procurement department (SPD) alleging they were left jobless after the officials of the department began procuring raw material from open market instead of previous procedures.
The protesters raised slogans at SPD office located in Frestabal locality of Pampore in Pulwama district.
The protestors were demanding revoking of the order saying it has marred their livelihood.
President of Zaffron Truckers’ Union Gulzar Ahmad told Kashmir Reader that as many as 150 trucks were employed for procurement and around five hundred families were dependent on the activity.
“The decision was taken after some employees of the department were caught in a fraud case involving an amount of Rs 1.75 crore,” Ahmad said adding the employees despite committing fraud were working but the poor labourers were hit.
Another office bearer of the union Bashir Ahmad Lone told Kashmir Reader that they have no issues with the action taken against unscrupulous elements but they have right to know as to why the poor labourers have been targeted.
“We appeal to the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to interfere in the matter so that the sufferings of labourers are stopped,” he said.
Police sources told Kashmir Reader that they have lodged an FIR number 132/2015 under section 409 on August 17, 2015 and produced chalan in local court against four employees of the department.
“The fraud was detected after there was shortage of 648 ton material worth Rs 1.75 crore from the department,” police sources said, adding that the case was pending decision in the court.
Director SPD Amresh Raina told Kashmir Reader that the department was procuring building raw material for various constructional works in the state. He said the government in 2015 asked the contractors of various agencies to get the supplies from the open market ending the role of SDP.
“I know that government’s decision has hit the livelihood of hundreds of people and I can do nothing to it,” he said adding that the truckers and labourers have several times met various ministers who assured their rehabilitation but denied procurement from the said department.