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TAXILA, May 12: The protest of Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) and Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) employees entered 6th day as they observed complete pen-down strike on Saturday against the proposed privatisation of power distribution companies (Discos).

The Wapda and Iesco workers boycotted the official work and gathered in front of the executive engineer office. Moreover, the Wapda and Iesco employees in Wah Cantt and Hassanabdal also locked their offices and held a protest demonstration outside the office.

Owing to the strike, the officials did not perform meter reading duties and thus electricity bills could not be issued to the consumers.

The employees raised slogans against the government and federal minister for water and power condemning them for not taking any step to check the menace of load shedding.  Wapda Hydro-electric central labour union (CBA) Zonal Chairman Syed Sammar Shah and Zonal Secretary Raheem Shah while addressing protesters said that privatisation would not solve the problems being faced by the people.

They said that Wapda employees’ protest movement would continue till the government announced an end to load shedding in the country by paying the required funds to buy the furnace oil. The fuel charges and heavy taxes should be withdrawn from the bills and decision to privatise power units should be taken back, they said.

The worker leaders said that corruption and mismanagement in the production of electricity were the causes of unscheduled and prolonged load shedding in the country.

According to them, Wapda and Iesco are profitable organisations generating huge revenue for the government but at present, they have no funds to purchase even furnace oil.

The union leaders said that the country would face complete blackout if the decision to privatise Wapda was not revoked. The participants also demanded time scale promotion, scale up-gradation, special allowance and other facilities.

Another union leader Mohammad Ashfaq in his speech criticised the government for increasing the electricity tariff. Owing to the fuel price adjustment and heavy taxes, it had become difficult for the consumers to pay the electricity bills; he said and added that taxes and fuel charges should be withdrawn from the bills in the best interest of the consumers.

The consumers had to face great difficulties as they could not get their bills rectified, electricity connections re-activated and new meters installed due to the pen-down strike.