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LAHORE: Several employees of the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) staged a demonstration on Tuesday against their management’s plan to shift the company’s head office from Wapda House to Defence Housing Authority (DHA).

The demonstrators gathered outside Wapda House under the banner of Paigham Union and raised slogans against senior company officials.

They called the plan a bid to facilitate/oblige an NTDC officer, who allegedly owned the plaza where the company’s offices were to be shifted.

“We will not allow this since there is no need to shift the NTDC offices from Lahore’s prime location to a private entity. Here, a government institution is paying a reasonable rent to a state-owned authority. But there, the state will pay much higher rent to a private entity,” said one protester.

Muhammad Nawaz Chughtai, secretary general of Paigham Union, said the NTDC was paying Rs75 per square foot monthly rent with all facilities — security, generators etc. But the new location will cost the government Rs135 per sq ft, he claimed.

Seek chief justice of Pakistan and prime minister intervention

On the other hand, the NTDC claims that its plan to shift its offices — scattered at 12 different locations, including Wapda House — will result in reduction of expenses and save resources.

“Presently, the NTDC offices are scattered at 12 different places in Lahore utilising over 166,000 square feet. This space is insufficient keeping in view the growth and magnitude of work the NTDC is undertaking. The company needs an additional 20,000 square feet of office space,” explained a company spokesman.

He said the Water and Power Development Authority had already increased office rent from Rs75 to Rs135 per sq ft since July 2014 and also demanded arrears since then. However, the NTDC had not agreed to this demand so far.

The protesters demanded the chief justice of Pakistan and prime minister to intervene and order the NTDC management to take back its decision. They said the shifting could cost the company heavily in purchase of buses for pick-and-drop facility to employees.

LESCO: The Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) announced on Tuesday provision of uninterrupted power supply to majalis, mourning gatherings and processions from Muharram 1 to 10.

“Special teams headed by the respective superintending engineers have been constituted to ensure provision of electricity frequently to all venues in the service areas of Lesco, including Lahore, Kasur, Nankana Sahib and Sheikhupura,” a spokesman said.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2018