WAPDA labour union protests against privatization and tariff hike plan
LAHORE (Oct 12, 2011) : Activists of the Pakistan Wapda Hydroelectric Central Labour Union (CBA) on Wednesday held country-wide protests against the government move to further increase power tariff.
In Lahore, workers took out a procession from Bakhtiar Labour Hall on Nisbet Road and after marching through various roads reached Shimla Pahari where they held a protest meeting to press for the acceptance of their demands.
Union Secretary-General Khurshid Ahmad said on the occasion that increase in power tariff would further add to the woes of the consumers who had already been finding it very difficult to pay bills owing to high cost of electricity being produced by private power houses.
He said Quetta, Jamshoro, Guddu, Muzaffargarh, Piran Ghaib, Shahdara and Faisalabad thermal power stations had been producing electricity at much lower cost than rental power houses and independent power producers. Privatisation of the same would multiply economic and social sufferings of the poor who had already been victim of aggravating unemployment and growing poverty owing to closure of hundreds of industrial and commercial units, rendering thousands of workers jobless during the recent months.
Instead, the government should reduce administrative cost of 15 electricity companies by merging and amalgamating the same under Wapda in order to get maladministration through undue political interference checked.
The government should also recover Rs300 billion dues from the Karachi Electric Supply Company, government and semi-government departments and agencies, so that required fuel could be supplied to the national thermal power stations and the electricity shortage could be minimised, said Mr Khurshid.
Other trade union representatives including Naveed Dogar, Sajid Kazmi, Rana Muhammad Akram, Syed Sajjad Husain Shah and Malik Noor Muhammad also spoke at the meeting.
They urged all patriotic forces to join hands with the workers to foil the conspiracies being hatched by the IMF and the World Bank by creating hindrances in the development of coal-fired thermal and hydel power stations for generating cheaper energy.
According to reports, union activists also took out processions in Hyderabad, Sukkur, Larkana, Multan, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and other cities to oppose the proposed privatisation of thermal power stations.
(Published in Dawn, Express & AzadiSwat)