ISLAMABAD - The daily-wage sanitary workers of Capital Development Authority (CDA) held a protest demonstration against maltreatment by the civic authority and demanded for the early reinstatement of their sacked fellow workers and reasonable increase in their wages. They had been holding protest demonstrations for the last five days in front of the National Press Club against the hostile attitude of CDA. They had also held a protest rally from Aabpara chowk to Press Club. The workers tried to commit suicide, which was prevented on the intervention of the police as well as some people from the Christian community after assuring them that the CDA had promised to resolve their issues. The sanitary workers demanded of the Government as well as the CDA for an early reinstatement of their sacked employees on daily wages. They also criticised the contractor system (Thakedari Nizam) as according to them, contractors were exploiting their basic rights and they were being given a very meager amount of money as salaries. They were of the view that the high-ups of CDA had awarded the contract of sanitation system of the capital to some contractors as they were giving hefty amount money to the high ups of civic authority as kickbacks, due to which the CDA administration had turned a deaf ear to their plights. The workers also said that the CDA administration was not implementing its own orders in true letter and spirit as the administration through a notification had increased the salaries of its daily wages employees, which was to be applicable from 1st of July 2009, but they had not gotten this raise yet. They also objected that they were not allowed to celebrate Christmas with joy and fervor as the contractors only gave them a Christmas allowance of Rs. 200 per person, which they termed as injustice and said that they should be treated as regular employees of the CDA. President Punjab Chapter of Christian Progressive Movement (CPM) Kamran Bhatti, while addressing the workers, said that the Punjab Government had regularised all its daily-wage sanitary workers but the CDA was reluctant to do this as the administration had been taking a lot of money from contractors as bribe for awarding them contracts. He also criticised the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) saying that it had failed to solve the problems of workers and was not checking the irregularities taking place under its nose. It is pertinent to mention here that the CDA had awarded the contract of sanitation system of its 7 sectors including G-6 to G-10 and I-10 through sanitation contract system and the sanitary workers working in these sectors are employees of second party: the contractors. APP adds: Students are feeling ominous as time is approaching when they will be immersed in books to memorise lessons and prepare for final examinations. As is happening in other parts of the country, in the twin cities there seems to be no end to power outages and this thing is becoming unnerving for the students. No day passes, when they feel affected as loadshedding turns bright nights into darkness and students wait for the light to return so they can resume their studies. My children are thinking about their final exams. They want to concentrate on studies but if the present situation continues it will definitely affect their grades, said Amina, a mother, whose three sons go to school. The annual exams from primary to graduate level will be held in the coming months and students are preparing to acquire good grades, said Shagufta, teacher at Islamabad Model College for Boys, F-8/4. But loadshedding for such long hours will make it difficult for them to concentrate on their studies, she said. School going children do not know much why power outages take place. So when they sit down to open their bags to do homework and light goes out, they feel let down. And they pass the time thinking whether they will able to complete their homework and what their school teachers will say if they could not finish the tasks given to them. And it is gloomier for children if the next best thing they want is to get into the cozy bed and go to sleep. This situation also eats up their time left for play and leisure. The winter days are short and nights are long so children like to do their homework in the evenings but their plans are always in jeopardy because of the persistent loadshedding. Housewives feel an extra burden on their shoulders. If they are washing clothes they are worried that washing machines would stop as there is no confirmed time for power to disappear. Family dinners are interrupted and suddenly people feel at a loss as what to do with their time. As now there is no television to watch and no computer to surf the Internet and play games. But who is benefiting from this situation? The manufacturers and sellers of emergency lights, candles, generators and Uninterrupted Supply Systems (UPS). They will continue to do good business as far as this situation will continue. The government is issuing assuring statements that many power projects are in the pipeline to meet the energy shortages. In the long term, there is a need to look for alternative sources of energy. Pakistan has abundant sunshine throughout the year so solar energy is an option. Although industry analysts say the cost for solar energy is high but there are advancements which can result in lower costs. Another source is wind and things can happen on this front if attention is focused on this area.