Hundreds of Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) union workers held protest demonstrations in several districts on Tuesday against the suspension of four leaders of the Hydroelectric Union Pakistan.
Muzaffargarh Thermal Power Station Hydroelectric Union president Hamayun Gujjar, the union’s general secretary and two senior officials were suspended on Monday by the power station’s chief executive.
Scores of Hydroelectric Union workers from the Muzaffargarh unit protested against the planned privatisation of the Muzaffargarh Thermal Power Station on Monday. The protest coincided with a visit of Minister of Water and Power Abid Sher Ali to the power station. The workers gathered around the minister’s convoy and chanted slogans. Muzaffargarh Thermal Power Station Chief Engineer Khalid Alvi was suspended and Security Chief Major (r) Omar Malik sacked. Muzaffargarh Thermal Power Station Chief Executive Shoaib Rashid was also given a show-cause notice.
Hydroelectric Union members in several districts held demonstrations to protest against the decision to suspend their leaders.
Wapda Hydroelectric Union president Khursheed Khan said, “If the union leaders are not reinstated inw the next 24 hours, we will suspend electricity supply to the heavily populated areas of south Punjab. He said protests will be held in major districts and divisional head offices of power generating companies in the region.
There were as many as 133 security guards on duty when members of the Hydroelectric Union Muzaffargarh unit ‘breached’ security and surrounded the minister’s vehicle.
Abid Sher Ali told The Express Tribune that the Muzaffargarh Thermal Power Station had become a hub of furnace oil and electricity theft. “We will not let the mafia sabotage Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s efforts to end the energy crisis in the country,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2014.
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