PESHAWAR: Perturbed by extended duration of load-shedding on eid day, a large number of people on the outskirts of the city ransacked their local power grid station in Warsak.
Staff deployed at the station, though, managed to escape safely after learning that villagers from three union councils of Ghari Sherdad, Kafoor Dheri and Panam Dheri were about to attack the facility.
After prolonged load-shedding on eid, angry residents of the area poured out onto the streets. Soon, they grew to be a mob of around 1,500 people.
They complained that they have not had any power for 18 hours each day. No break to this was provided either on the eve of or on eid day. They claimed that electricity meant for their homes was being illegally provided to factories by the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO).
They then proceeded to storm the grid station and ransacked it. The attack damaged machinery and large transformers installed in the facility. The attackers also looted the furniture and other items they found there.
After loitering in and vandalising the grid for several hours, the villagers dispersed and returned to their homes.
An official at the local police precinct told The Express Tribune that the attackers had caused at least Rs220 million in damages to the vital grid station.
With the cycle of load-shedding continuing, around a thousand villagers poured into the streets for a second day on Thursday and blocked Warsak Road for all kinds of traffic for several hours and protested against the prolonged load-shedding in the villages.
This caused hardship for the people travelling by road on the second day of Eid.
Similarly, residents of several villages while protesting the two-day power breakdown in their area during Eid caught hold of three employees of PESCO and detained them.
The PESCO officials were later released after police intervened.
Unannounced and prolonged load-shedding is routine in the outlying areas of Peshawar.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2018.