LAHORE Hundreds of Wapda workers protested against the planned privatisation of its distribution companies DISCOs and GENCOs (Wapda-owned thermal power stations) here on Tuesday. The protesters said that the outsourcing plan for the GENCOs, approved by the Economic Co-ordination Committee of the Federal Cabinet on August 23, 2011, would cut jobs, enhance loadshedding and raise electricity tariff. The protest leaders reminded those gathered on the occasion that the government, in the name of energy sector reforms, had recently dissolved the PEPCO and was planning to give an independence status to the eight distribution companies. As many as 140,000 Wapda workers observed the 'Protest Day under the aegis of Pakistan Wapda Hydro Electric Central Labour Union, said a statement issued by the union. The City rally protesters, as part of a larger movement, demanded an immediate end to loadshedding and provision of cheaper electricity to all by building coal-fired thermal power stations and hydel power stations in the public sector. They also urged the Government not to unbundle nationwide public utilities. Rather, these should be merged into Wapda in the interest of national unity, said one protester. Do not appoint raw hands as chief executive officers of the DISCOs on favouritism. Appoint competent and experienced engineers as CEOs, said another. According to the reports, workers on Tuesday took out mass processions and held rallies in big cities including Peshawar, Mardan, Abbottabad, Bannu, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Multan, Faisalabad, Sukkur, Hyderabad and Quetta. A good number of Wapda workers held protest at the Wapda House here. They were carrying banners and flags and raised slogans in support of their demands and condemned the proposed privatisation of utilities and price hike of power tariff and loadshedding. They also raised slogans against the IMF and the World Bank. Khurshid Ahmed, the union leader, declared that almost 150 electricity workers sacrificed their lives while serving the nation even on closed holidays and developed transmission and distribution network all over the country. These are false policies of the Government which did not allow Wapda to build new Power House timely under the pressure of the IMF and World Bank and kept GENCOs without gas supply, he held. Non-payment of Rs1 trillion by the Karachi Electric Supply Company and other Government agencies are the other important issues which led the country into darkness, he claimed. Khurished added that the struggle of 140,000 Wapda workers was aimed to urge to the Government to develop cheaper electricity for the nation and overcoming serious load shedding and defeat the proposed privatization of GENCOs. The workers demanded of the President and the Prime Minister not to appoint new hands as CEOs of DISCOs. It was announced that the working class of Wapda would not allow privatization of national public utility. Because, they held, the privatization of Karachi Electric Supply Company had been failed miserably. They warned that the workers would be compelled to cut supply of VlPs in case the Government preceded the privatization policy.