In Jammu and Kashmir, there were protests against the installation of smart meters. In that context, many social media users are sharing a post, claiming that Kashmiris have been using free-of-cost electricity since India’s Independence. The caption hints that they are protesting against the installation of metres as they will have to pay the electricity bill.
The post reads: “कश्मीर में लोगों को बिजली का बिल भरना पड़ेगा! जी हाँ, आजादी के बाद से अबतक कश्मीरियों को मुफ़्त बिजली मिलती थी” (English translation: People in Kashmir will have to pay electricity bills! Yes, since Independence Kashmiris have been getting free electricity.)
The link to the post can be seen here.
NewsMobile did the fact-check, and found it to be fake.
On searching with appropriate keywords, we found an article published by the website Daily Excelsior. The article says that people, especially women, are protesting in Jammu and Kashmir against the installation of smart metres. The article also quoted a protestor, saying: “We already have meters installed in our homes and we are paying regular bills. What is the fun of installing new meters?”
Another report by Greater Kashmir, published on April 21, 2022, says that the installation of smart electricity meters has triggered protests at Chanapora locality in Jammu and Kashmir. It quoted one Manzoor Ahmed, a resident of the area, saying: “Everyone is not rich enough to pay the huge bills of electricity. Most of us pay a flat rate which is affordable for everyone. There should be some provision for poor people, so that they can also get some respite.”
We also found a report of the Jammu & Kashmir State Electricity Regulatory Commission from 2006-07, that spoke about the existing tariff and the proposed rise in tariff.
Hence, we can ascertain that the viral claim is fake.
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