LARKANA: The All Pakistan Wapda Hydro Electric Workers Union (CBA) has opposed the federal government’s decision to privatise power distribution companies (Discos) on the directives of the IMF and warned if the move is not dropped thousands of workers will stage a sit-in.

Abdul Latif Nizamani, central president of the CBA, said at a union workers’ gathering and a press conference at Nizamani labour hall on Saturday that contrary to national interests the government was deliberately weakening the power distribution companies to make them fit for privatisation.

The objective of private entrepreneurs was only to capture resources and maximize profit, he said, citing example of Karachi’s K-Eelc­tric, which was producing electricity with expensive oil.

He said that circular debts had increased and ruined national economy. The government was opting for privatisation at the behest of the IMF and the World Bank as these institutions lent money only condition that their interests were protected, he said.

He demanded the government shelve the decision on privatisation and provide job protection and protective gear to the employees. Only mentally satisfied workers could protect the company and the Wapda union had proposed protection of employees, reduction in electricity prices and securing consumer connections, he said.

Nizamani flanked by Iqbal Khan, secretary general, and Nisar Shaikh, regional chairman of the union, said that an outfit called One Five, which enjoyed officials’ support and worked within the organisation, was involved in power theft and extortion. Such mafias needed to be curbed, he said.

He said that the higher the electricity tariff, the more electricity would be stolen. More than 13 power companies had their board of directors that held meetings almost every day and their expenses came to around Rs45,000 per day, he had.

He said that there were 150,000 technical workers who demanded that privatisation be postponed, otherwise, they would hold sit-ins and the government would be responsible for the consequences.

Nizamani alleged that the government was not providing gas to power generation units to enable them to produce cheaper electricity and termed the privatisation policy as ‘Looto and phooto’ (rob and flee).

SUKKUR: Nizamani told media persons after addressing a workers’ gathering here on Bandar Road that the CBA had rejected the plans for forced privatisation of Wapda.

He demanded that steps should be taken for the upgradation of Wapda and hydroelectric institute and more than 65,000 vacant posts should be filled to improve performance of the institute. He said that they would offer stiff resistance to privatisation of the Wapda because it would definitely increase rate of per unit of electricity and consumers would suffer ultimately.

Published in Dawn, December 26th, 2021

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