140000 WAPDA Employees Availing Free Electricity – “TheNews” Report

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Rawalpindi (Saturday, June 25, 2011) – Despite the fact that Pakistan is passing through the worst power crisis of its history, around 140,000 employees of the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) and other power distribution companies of the country are getting free electricity units burdening the common man.
Talking to The News, people belonging to different walks of life said that the government decision to stop supply of free electricity units to employees of the Wapda and other power distribution companies is a step in the right direction.
Around 140,000 employees of the Wapda and other power distribution companies are getting around 300 to 1,100 free electricity units per month according to their pay scales.
District Bar Association (DBA) Vice President Malik Ishtiaq Ahmed criticised the supply of free electricity units to employees of the Wapda and other power supply companies. He said that they get their salaries then why free electricity is supplied to them. The government decision to stop supply of free electricity units to the Wapda employees is a good step, he said. He said: We are already facing power crisis and our children spend sleepless nights due to long hours of loadshedding. In the prevailing circumstances, it is a great injustice that Wapda employees are getting free electricity.
All Pakistan Traders Association President Shaikh Muhammad Siddique said: It is quite unfortunate that we are paying inflated bills despite not getting electricity and Wapda employees are getting free electricity.
Nasir Hussain Shah, a school principal, said: We are destroying departments with our own hands. Every month, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) demands of the government to increase power rates. They don t look into the matter, as what is the core reason of electricity shortfall. They are the ones who are enjoying free electricity and putting its burden on the general public. He said it is a fact that the majority of Wapda officials and linemen are involved in power theft and taking monthlies from factory owners and through illegal electricity connections to katchi abadis .
Iesco Superintendent Engineer (SE) Shaikh Abid Iqbal told The News : We provide free electricity units to employees from grade 1 to 22. The government provides a minimum 250-300 free electricity units to lower grade employees of Wapda and other power distribution companies and a maximum of around 1,100 units to high officials every month, which is our right. He said that the government could not withdraw the supply of free electricity to serving and retired Wapda employees.
Iesco Executive Engineer (Operations) Mian Dilawar Shah, a grade 18 officer, said: I am getting 650 free electricity units every month. Our department is paying against free units to the concerned department, he said. He added that it is better for the government to continue supplying free electricity units, otherwise Wapda employees would adopt other ways to continue their practice of theft.
A key official of the Iesco, on condition of anonymity, told The News that the residents of some posh sectors are getting 24-hour electricity supply with the cooperation of power distribution companies. The employees are involved in power theft despite enjoying free electricity units , he added.
All Pakistan Hydro Electric Centre Labour Union Chairman (Rawalpindi Division) Javed Baloch admitted that Wapda has black sheep. He said: Some employees are involved in power theft and cooperating with some persons in this regard. Power theft is high in Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, but in Punjab the situation is different. We are monitoring power theft and taking strict action against employees involved in it, he added. He said: We have met Federal Minister for Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar who has assured us that the supply of free electricity units to Wapda employees will continue, he claimed.

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