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May 7, 2015

Workers for reforms instead of Wapda privatisation

 
May 7, 2015

LAHORE
Thousands of Wapda workers, along with engineers, held a nationwide protest under the aegis of All Pakistan Wapda Hydro Electric Workers Union (CBA) on Wednesday against the proposed privatisation of electricity distribution and its generation at the behest of the World Bank.
Protesters at the Bakhtiar Labour Hall said high price of electricity and loadshedding were reprehensible and demanded the Government of Pakistan to review its economic and social policies and introduce reforms to raise the hydel, coal, and gas fired thermal power stations in the public sector on war-footing basis.
The workers were carrying banners condemning the feudalism and crony capitalism, and privatisation of the national public utilities.
They held protest rallies in support of their demands in all the major cities of the country. At Lahore, thousands of Wapda workers staged a sit-in which was addressed by veteran trade union leader Khurshid Ahmed.
Khurshid Ahmed urged the government to adopt a progressive and self-reliant economic policy and impose tax on the elite class and divert the resources to developing cheaper sources of the electricity. The electricity is the blood for economic and social development that is why founder of nation Quaid-i-Azam categorically declared that all the national public utilities’ enterprises, including electricity, railways, oil, and gas, would be run by the State.
He reminded the government of the experience of privatisation which had already failed in Multan, Rawalpindi, and Karachi.
The government should introduce administrative reforms in electricity to raise its productivity instead of dividing it into 15 companies and hand over the control back to the Wapda and ownership to the private members of the Board of Directors who had not invested even a rupee in these companies, he claimed.
He further demanded that the government should hold dialogue with the union instead of privatising the utility unilaterally.
He gave a reference to China who was providing electricity to one billion consumers without any loadshedding and its high cost.
He said the workers were restrained to take industrial action as our nation was already fighting a war against terrorists.
The workers will be compelled to take industrial action in case their viewpoint is not heard, he stressed.