RAWALPINDI, Nov 29: Pakistan Railways's woes got worse on Wednesday when the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) cut off power supply to its 29 railway stations and colonies in the Rawalpindi division.
Iesco officials said the disconnection orders came after the PR failed to pay Rs43 million in outstanding bills.
Railway stations from Rawalpindi to Lalamusa that lost electric supply included Chaklala, Margallah, Fatehjang, Sihala, Noor, Kaliam as well as the employees colonies attached to them. The Loco Shed colony near Dhoke Ratta alone houses more than 7,000 railway employees.
The Iesco spared the main Rawalpindi Railway Station, the Railway Rest House and the Railway Marriage Hall but warned that power would not be restored until the outstanding amount was paid.
“We sought five days from Iesco to clear the dues as Pakistan Railways will receive funds from federal government by December 2,” said Munawar Shah, Divisional Superintendent while talking to Dawn.
He said that the Rawalpindi city had more than 7,000 employees working with Railway Carriage Factory, Central Diesel Locomotive Workshop, Railway Station, Divisional Offices, Washing Lines and other departments.
He said the financial condition of the organization was not good that had forced the organisation to stop paying the utility bills. He said that being a government organization, the Iesco should not have done this to the railways.
To a question, he said that Rawalpindi Railway Station and adjoining Divisional Offices were being provided electricity from different feeder that was why their electricity was not disconnected.
His official residence was also without electricity, he said adding he tried to contact Iesco Superintendent Engineer, Rawalpindi Circle, Abid Sheikh but he was not picking up telephone.
He wrote letter to the Iesco Chief Executive informing him about the current situation and sought restoration of the electricity.
On the other hand, the power disconnection has sent a wave of unrest among the railway employees.
They staged protest in their offices and urged the railway authorities to get the electricity restored as, according to them, the government deducts Rs1,000 from their salaries under electricity charges of their residence.
“Despite paying the monthly Rs1,000 electricity charges, we are still without electricity,” Naveed Abbasi, an employee of the railways said and added the future of the organisation was also uncertain.
Another employee, Fareed Ahmed, said that the power supply of Railway Rest House and Divisional Superintendent and other senior officer were not disconnected and the axe of Iesco fell on the low paid employees of the Railways.
Rana Tufail, an employee residing at loco shed colony, said the electricity was suspended from 9am. “It will be difficult for the children to go to school tomorrow,” he said.
Railway Workers Union General Secretary Jamil Raja said that it was the responsibility of the Railway administration to clear the dues of Wapda on time. He said the mismanagement has brought once profitable organization at edge of destruction.
He said that the union leaders were assured by the administration that the electricity would restore in the evening but it was not restored.
He said that the railway employees were already facing problems due to late payment of salaries and pension and the absence of utility service has added to their problems.