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Simple administrative issue leads to unrest in DISCOs


July 2, 2018

LAHORE: A simple administrative issue has led to undue chaos in power utilities (Distribution Companies or DISCOs) following a direction, issued by the Power Division of the Ministry of Energy about transfer of all XENs and sub-divisional officers (SDOs) less than a month ahead of elections.

Administratively speaking, reshuffle and moving out of one’s own district should be taken as a good step. And it is also a good move for avoiding any possibility of influence on the results of the upcoming elections, said a senior official of the Ministry of Energy. He categorically said that only those officials were opposing the move who had some vested-interests in gluing to their present posts.

To a question, he made it clear that such posting and transfers did not necessarily require backing of the Election Commission of Pakistan. For instance, he maintained, SHOs of Islamabad police had been transferred recently without any instructions from the ECP. These pure administrative steps were taken without any haste and we have not seen any protest over it, he added.

The official said politics over provision of electricity connections and installation of meters and poles did happen in this part of the world. So, if transfers were being done in other departments, why power distribution companies should be exempted from it?

An official of Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) said that how officials of power utilities could influence elections was another issue, but for better running of power utility, it is desirable to transfer officials in routine, he added.

LESCO Engineers Association has also called an emergency meeting over large-scale transfers and postings. Members of the association vehemently opposed the government move to transfer officials to other districts. It is learnt that officials of the power utility are planning to start agitation over what they called unnecessary transfers.

On the other hand, sources argued that such massive reshuffle of power machinery has never happened before. They claimed that staff of power utilities had hardly any role in persuading voters for supporting certain candidates in the general election. Hence, they added, the administrative shake-up was uncalled for. If the power utility staff was so powerful, they could influence election results in other districts also, sources added.

Through an official letter, chief executives of DISCOs have been directed to prepare a posting/transfer plan of all XENs and SDOs, except for those whose presence is critically essential. The CEOs would have to provide convincing technical justification for such officials.

The Pakistan Electric Power Company has been assigned the task of spearheading the administrative reshuffle in the power utilities. The letter has been sent to the CEOs of all DISCOs — Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco), Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (Fesco), Islamabad Electric Supply Company, Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco), Gujranwala Electric Power Company (Gepco), Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco), Tribal Area Electric Supply Company (Tesco), Quetta Electric Supply Company (Qesco), Sukkur Electric Power Company (Sepco) and Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco).

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