LAHORE: All Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority Hydroelectric Workers’ Union general secretary Khurshid Ahmed said on Wednesday that representatives of the union had held a meeting with Federal Minister for Water and Power Khwaja Asif and the federal secretary of the ministry.
He was addressing dozens of Lahore Electric Supply Company employees at a protest demonstration against the planned privatisation of the state-owned enterprise. Ahmed said union representatives had exhorted Asif to review the plan to privatise the company. He said the minister had vowed to forward their request to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Ahmed called on electricity consumers and those who wanted the nation to progress to join the workers’ anti-privatisation struggle. “Access to electricity is a basic need. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure its provision,” he said. Ahmed said the government would raise the power tariff in accordance with its agreement with the International Monetary Fund. He said this would benefit companies at the expense of citizens.
Ahmed said Asif had revealed before the Senate that the Karachi Electric Supply Company had failed to pay Rs40 billion to the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited, Rs32 billion to the Karachi Water Board and clear the amount it owed to Wapda despite receiving electricity at subsidised rates. He said this was proof enough that the policy of privatisation was doomed.
The general secretary said the Wapda would flourish if workers were empowered and given control of the authority.
Ahmed said the workers would continue to expand the scope of their campaign till everyone sitting on the treasury benches became cognisant of their demands.
All Pakistan Workers’ Confederation general secretary Yusaf Baloch, All Pakistan Wapda Hydroelectric Workers’ Union information secretary Osama Tariq and other union officials also addressed the workers.
Employees of some electricity transmission companies have been staging protests over the planned privatisation of the enterprises. Employees of the Faisalabad Electric Supply Company have been staging a continuous sit-in in front of the company headquarters since May 18. The sit-in is expected to conclude on Thursday (today).
Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2015.
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