HYDERABAD: Members of the Joint Action Committee of Panchayat Raj Engineering Department Employees, who are on an indefinite strike for the past 33 days opposing division of the department, will intensify their agitation on Thursday.

G. Hanumantha Rao, organising secretary, and S.S. Sastry, vice-chairman, told a press conference here on Wednesday that members of the committee would take out a ‘Chalo Secretariat’ rally on August 23 at 11 a.m. from Indira Park.

They said several ZPTCs, MPTCs and sarpanches would take part in the rally, expressing solidarity with the agitation. They explained that rural water supply was one of the 29 subjects under the control of the Panchayati Raj institutions vide the 73rd and 74th Constitutional amendments. According to S. Brahma Reddy, chairman, the committee is seeking support of other Government employees’ organisations as part of its efforts to intensify the agitation.

The JAC leaders contend that the Government had separated the Rural Water Supply wing as a stepping stone for its privatisation. “In fact, the Government had already started negotiations with General Electric and Tatas for establishing desalination plants. It intends to collect tariff by fixing water meters to houses as desired by the World Bank,” they alleged.