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LAHORE: Employees of power distribution companies (Discos) and Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) are not eligible to any financial assistance package announced by the federal government because they are not government servants, said sources.

They said both the Discos and Wapda managements denied extending the assistance packages announced by the federal government from time to time.

Sources said Discos are public limited companies under the Companies Ordinance, 1984 and their employees cannot be treated as government employees in the absence of any statutory laws or rules expressly classifying them as government employees. Without any such backing, the employees could not be considered as government employees despite the fact that the Discos may be called government-owned companies.

Similarly, they said, Wapda is a body corporate which is regulated by its own Act and Rules, i.e., the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority Act of 1958. They added that in the normal course of business, Wapda exercises independent authority. The authority may from time to time employ such officers and servants, or appoint such experts or consultants, as it may consider necessary for the performance of its functions, on such terms and conditions as it may deem fit. Also, said sources, the employees of the provincial irrigation and electricity departments are not entitled to any deputation allowance while serving in Wapda.

The sources said both the Discos and Wapda have had been declining to extend any benefit under special financial assistance scheme announced by the federal government from time to time. Instead, both the entities have their indigenous financial assistance packages doled out to the employees and their spouses in case of accident.

It may be noted that a number of employees of Discos face fatal accidents while performing their duties in the field. In all such cases, due benefits are extended to them and their families in case of the death of any employee. However, some of the families had also approached both the Discos and Wapda for benefit accruing out of the financial assistance package announced by the then Prime Minister back in 2014. But they were denied any such assistance because of the independent statutory position of the entities, which enable them to devise terms and conditions of employment determined by their own rules and regulations.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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