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Wapda employees take to streets

February 23, 2011

HYDERABAD, Feb 23: On the call of Pakistan Wapda Hydro Electric Central Labour Union, rallies were taken out by the Wapda employees in different towns of interior Sindh on Wednesday in protest against the proposed privatisation of Wapda and its distribution companies.

The protesters carried banners and placards and raised slogans against privatisation. The Wapda employees locked up their offices and suspended all work. The biggest rally at Sindh level was taken out from the Labour Hall Hyderabad which terminated at the press club after marching on main city roads.

Hundreds of workers also staged a protest demonstration outside the residence of federal minister for privatisation, Syed Naveed Qamar in Latifabad.

Addressing the rally outside the press club, the central president of the Hydro Union, Abdul Latif Nizamani, Iqbal Kaimkhani, Malik Sultan and other leaders condemned the proposed privatisation of Wapda and its distribution companies.

Nizamani said that the government had chalked out a plan for the phase-wise privatisation of distribution companies starting with profitable electricity company of Islamabad. He said the government would first have to deal with the Wapda employees who would stand like a rock to stop privatisation.

He said just for the sake of commission, the authorities were purchasing electricity at high rate and selling it at cheap rates.

Mr Nizamani said that Wapda could again stand on its own feet if unnecessary expenditures were stopped and billions of rupees outstanding against the government organisations were cleared.

He said an army of officers, technocrats and consultants had been appointed while in the past, just one chairman of the area was considered enough to run the affairs. He advised the government to construct more hydro power projects to supply electricity to the public at cheaper rates.

He warned the government that if it did not give up the policy of privatisation, the Wapda employees would go to any extent, including country-wide strike and switching-off electricity to the entire country. He said the responsibility for the consequences would squarely rest with the government.

Provincial secretary of the union, Iqbal Ahmed Kaimkhani also spoke on the occasion.

MIRPURKHAS: Hundreds of Hesco employees took out a rally from Hesco divisional office to the press club. The protesters, led by divisional chairman Akbar Khan Leghari, Mohammad Yousuf Soomro and Malik Abdul Kareem, carried banners and placards and marched on main roads demanding the government to immediately stop its process of privatization of Pepco.

Hesco employees also took out a rally in Sanghar.

NAUSHAHRO FEROZE: Over 100 employees of Sesco took out a rally and staged demonstration opposite the Moro press club against privatisation of Wapda.

KHAIRPUR: Wapda employees held protest marches in Khairpur, Pir Jo Goth and Gambat against privatisation of Hesco, Sepco and other power companies.

Addressing the participants, their leaders said that the government, which claim to be pro-people, was taking anti-people decisions. They said that the privatisation of power companies would lead to an increase in the electricity rates and the increased charges would be a burden on the poor and middle class families.

They added that it would also result into retrenchment of the employees. They vowed to continue their struggle.

NAWABSHAH: The members of Wapda Hydro Electric Central Labour Union took out a rally and staged demonstration outside the local press club. The rally stared from old power house in Manuabad and ended outside the local press club.

Led by Fazal Shaikh, the divisional chairman the union, participants maintained that Wapda would suffer losses due to the generation of electricity through rental power plants and privatisation.

They further said that the government should ensure power generation through Thar coal project so that the consumers may get electricity at an affordable rate.They condemned the proposed privatisation of Wapda and also demanded revision of pay scales of its employees.