Pakistan News

Govt asked to reform ‘profitable’ Discos instead of privatisation

Govt asked to reform ‘profitable’ Discos instead of privatisation

LAHORE: Members of the civil society, former officers of the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) and office-bearers of the All Pakistan Wapda Hydro Electric Workers Union (CBA) and the Pakistan Workers Federation on Monday demanded the federal government not to privatise three profitable power distribution companies (Discos) and introduce administrative reforms to improve their efficiency.

Around 150,000 electricity workers and engineers along with the national trade unions movement, civil society and progressive political parties would launch a countrywide protest to press for acceptance of their demand if the government did not respond, they warned.

CBA Secretary-General Khursheed Ahmad, who was accompanied by Awami Workers Party Chairman Abid Hasan Minto, Wapda’s former member power Syed Tanzeem Naqvi, Pakistan Workers Confederation President Robina Jameel, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s representative Husain Naqi and others was addressing a news conference on ‘Energy Crisis and Dire Need for National Reforms’.

They urged the government to take measures on the demands of the working class, civil society and progressive political parties. They said the death of more than 1,000 innocent citizens in Karachi during peak summer because of loadshedding by K-Electric added fuel to fire.

They said the Federal Water and Power Ministry had declared in the National Assembly and earlier in the Senate Committee on Water and Power Committee that K-Electric had been receiving 650MW daily from Wapda at cheaper rates and selling for far higher to consumers besides receiving gas from the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited at subsidised rates.

Ahmad quoted some political parties’ demands in the National Assembly to withdraw the privatisation of K-Electric in public Interest. He recalled sufferings of the people of Rawalpindi and Multan due to privatisation electricity companies that eventually pushed the federal government to hand over their control back to Wapda in ‘80s.

He demanded the prime minister intervene and withdraw the decision of privatising profitable electricity distribution companies and introduce administrative reforms by withdrawing their control from the private members of board of directors.

Naqvi said the privatisation of profitable electricity Discos would be against public interest and give rise to inter-provincial dispute such as water distribution. The government should also take measures on war-footing to raise hydel and gas-fired thermal power stations in the public sector to provide cheaper electricity, overcome power loadshedding and conserve energy.

Minto demanded the government implement its decision to close commercial centres by 7pm and divert power to industries, agriculture and domestic consumers.

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2015

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