Extended load shedding: Dozens of protesters, cop injured in power clashes

Published: June 6, 2018
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Protests held against load-shedding. PHOTO: FILE

Protests held against load-shedding. PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: A police officer and dozens of civilians were injured when angry residents clashed with the police in Peshawar while protesting against the prolonged and unannounced power outages.

People from different parts of the provincial capital and the adjacent areas have been complaining against the prolonged power outages, which have continued during sehri and iftar hours.

Residents of the Pajagi road staged a protest demonstration late on Monday. They had protested during the cool of the night.

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They claimed that power outages in parts of the provincial capital and adjacent areas have increased in recent weeks and urged the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) to end the unannounced outages.

Moreover, many inhabitants complained of water shortage since the tube wells that supply them have been unable to work due to the lack of power.

They accused the federal government of deliberately cutting off the power.

“Where are Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif who would make tall claims of steering the country out of the power crisis,” an elderly Zareen Khan demanded before rolling television cameras, adding that he had to fetch drinking water from another union council in the afternoon heat.

But when the protesters turned violent and tried to attack a grid station located on Pajagi road, the police had been called in.

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Clashes ensued

But even as the mercury touched 42 degrees Celsius, scorching heat in the provincial capital accompanied by prolonged power outages compelled residents of the provincial capital to protest against the government.

People from Badhber, Sarband, Mattani, Pajagi road and other rural areas held protest demonstrations on Tuesday as well.

On the other hand, PESCO officials explained the prolonged power cuts as rescheduled load shedding by the National Transmission and Distribution Company (NTDC) owing to the rising temperatures.

A PESCO statement read that the NTDC has issued directions for increasing load shedding in areas with the greatest line losses, adding that those who do not pay their power bills will have to face additional load shedding.

It also stated that in order to provide uninterrupted supply to the residents [of areas where recovery was satisfactory], industrial units will not be supplied power during Sehri and Iftar timings. At the same time, it requested consumers to save power.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 6th, 2018.

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