Power cuts of up to 18 hours a day have virtually paralysed social life in Swat.
Despite continuous assurances from the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) and the government, prolonged power outages are being observed during the iftar and sehr timings.
“We don’t know where to go. The corrupt rulers and authorities have made our lives hell. Load shedding is not only a cut-off from electricity, but it also means putting daily activities on standby,” said Nauman, a resident of Mingora.
The power is got for every three years, with one hour of energy restoration. Even that one hour is fraught with frequent brownouts.
Akbar Zada, a school teacher told The Express Tribune, “We get 80v, instead of 220v, [which is insufficient to] run even the ceiling fan. Many of our electrical appliances have broken down.”
To make things worse, in some parts of the Swat district, even gas supply is cut during sehri.
“I think the Wapda and Sui gas officials are fraudsters. They don’t even care for Ramazan and deliberately bother public. One can imagine our troubles during sehri without gas and electricity,” said Parveen, a housewife in Mingora.
Frequent power outages also mean not enough time to pump water. Mingora and its suburbs get their water from tube-wells, which have not been functioning.
“Our tube-well has been closed for eight days now. First, there is load shedding and if the power is restored, it does not run the tube-well due to low voltage. So, despite fasting, we are forced to bring water from far-off places,” said Akbar Sayed, a resident of Rang Mohalla.
Swat Qaumi Jirga has threatened to come out on the roads if the “hostility against Swat” is not ended by Wapda.
In an emergency meeting held on Monday, elders of the Swat Qomi Jirga termed the “long and unending” load shedding with low voltages as enmity with the Swatis.
“If the injustice with Swat did not end in seven days, people will come out on the roads and protest,” they said in a press release.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2011.
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