Power supply to the University of Karachi (KU) was suspended on Wednesday by the sole privately-owned power distributor in the city over non-payment of dues of more than Rs80 million.
According to K-Electric (K-E), the receivables from KU have risen to over Rs86 million and due to that the power supply to the administration department and staff colony at KU was disconnected.
“Despite serving several notices, the dues have not been cleared by the university. We urge the authorities concerned once again to clear the outstanding dues,” the private power utility spokesperson said.
On the other hand, the varsity spokesperson said that they were trying to clear the dues as soon as possible and assured that an amount of Rs30 million – around 35% of the total outstanding sum - will be paid by October 5. “The varsity administration is negotiating with K-E over the issue.”
The Karachi University Teachers Society (KUTS) reacted strongly against the power disconnection and commented that K-E perhaps saw the largest public varsity in the country through a commercial lens.
“[KU] is a premium educational institution, which runs on government grants regardless of profit or loss,” KUTS President Dr Shakeel Farooqi said, adding that the bills were regularly paid, however, a few were delayed due to a cut in the grant in this fiscal budget.
Criticising K-E’s act, Farooqi said that the administration, government and Higher Education Commission should also have acted responsibly. “In this situation the educational and research process have been badly affected,” he said.
He urged Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair and Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to intervene and resolve the issue at the earliest and reminded the former of his speech in an adjacent university in which he made claims about the federal government’s investment and interest in strengthening higher educational institutions.
Meanwhile, Sindh’s opposition leader, Khawaja Izharul Hasan, also demanded the governor and CM resolve the matter at the earliest and insisted that the financial grant to the over 20,000 student varsity was not enough to meet the expenses, which is what eventually led to this situation.
Power was restored to the varsity at around 8:30pm following negotiations between the varsity and K-E.
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