LAHORE: Lahorites continued to suffer prolonged power outages and frequent tripping on Thursday as authorities failed to completely fix a technical fault which emerged on Wednesday evening. The fault occurred at the Bund Road Grid Station.
The resulting breakdown had persisted for some 20 hours till the filing of this report. This is the second-worst breakdown suffered by the provincial capital in the last two months.
Several neighbourhoods, including Township, Green Town, Allama Iqbal Iqbal Town, Johar Town, Sabzazar, Multan Road, Ferozepur Road, Wahdat Road, Mislim Town, Sanda, Sant Nagar, Karim Park, Shahdara, Bund Road, RA Bazaar, Ghazi Road and other adjoining areas remained in the dark. Locals claimed these areas faced frequent power outages on Thursday due to the sheer negligence of the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) and Lahore Electricity Supply Company (LESCO).
LESCO system trips as heavens open
The prolonged power outages also caused a shortage of water which added to the miseries of the public in the hot and humid summer. Speaking to The Express Tribune, an official of LESCO indicated that several grid stations, including Qartaba and Shadman, tripped following a technical fault in the transmission system and a subsequent fire at the Bund Road Grid Station.
He pointed out that the fault at one of the major grid stations adversely affected the entire distribution network of the power utility company. Over 50 feeders of the LESCO went offline and blacked out the city, he maintained.
A spokesperson for LESCO highlighted that the company had already restored power supply to 70% of the affected neighbourhoods. “Engineers are working tirelessly to fix the technical issue, while the company is supplying electricity to all areas through load management, he added.
Earlier, a similar power breakdown was witnessed in May which plunged several cities including Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Bahawalpur, Muzaffargarh, Peshawar and Swat, into darkness for several hours.
The breakdown was the result of major tripping on the the Guddu-Muzaffargarh power line which further triggered faults at Tarbela and Guddu power plants besides other power stations.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Raees Khan, a local, said the outgoing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government claimed it had made huge investments in the power sector and increased the national electricity generation capacity by 10,000MW. However, the frequent failures and major breakdowns tell a different story.
He highlighted that in several areas, Lahorites spent the whole of Wednesday night on roads outside their houses or LESCO offices as there was no electricity in almost half of the city.
He cursed power authorities for not performing their duties effectively and pointed out that all telephone lines and mobile phone numbers of LESCO had been switched off. “People are facing real hardships due to the power failure, but no LESCO official is available to tell citizens about the issue,” he lamented.
A resident of Township area, Sana Arslan, highlighted that the school of her children was scheduled to open after summer vacations on Thursday. However, the power outage badly affected the sleep of her children and made it difficult fpr them to make a fresh start to the school year.
She urged the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) to take note of the frequent power failures as it had become a matter routine for the entire city to plunge into darkness.
LESCO protests spark violence
A massive gridlock was reported on Ferozpur Road on Thursday due to the protest of Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) employees. The power utility workers were protesting against the assault on their employees by a group of lawyers.
The protesters blocked the road near Chungi Amar Sadhu in Kot Lakhpat. This caused a nuisance for a number of people including patients of the Lahore General Hospital which is nearby.
Besides the traffic mess, there were reports of protesters assaulting and misbehaving with commuters. The angry mob thrashed a local and tore his clothes.
The victim was trying to cross the road on a motorcycle when he exchanged harsh words with the protesters. He said one of his relatives was admitted to the hospital and he wanted to reach the medical facility to inquire about the latter’s health.
However, the enraged protesters, instead of listening to his grievances, started to assault the man physically. LESCO protesters shouted slogans against the authorities and the lawyers who thrashed their officers.
LESCO officers Ismail Nagar subdivision Assistant Manager Asim Bukhari, Nishter subdivision Assistant Manager Junaid Iqbal and Qurban Ali were attacked and beaten by the assailants.
Major power breakdown hits Punjab and K-P
While sharing the details of the incident, Bukhari said he was at his office when three lawyers arrived at the scene. The LESCO official said that the lawyers started using abusive language and misbehaved with him over the electricity connection which was suspended due to the non-payment of a bill.
He claimed that the matter was being discussed when one of the lawyers, identified as Muhammad Azam, slapped him. He said the others also started punching and kicking him.
The victim was on duty when attacked and demanded stern action against the assailants. The protesters also threatened to expand the scope of the demonstration if these demands were not met.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2018.
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