HYDERABAD/SUKKUR: Residents across Sindh have taken to the streets as prolonged power outages continue to make life unbearable in this summer heat.
In Hyderabad, protests continued for the second day running on Tuesday as residents of Kacha Qila and adjacent neighbourhoods blocked the road outside the district council office.
The residents complained that the transformer in their neighbourhood had broken down that has worsened the water crisis in their locality.
They placed barriers at different intervals on the road and blocked the road for traffic. When one motorcyclist tried to bypass a barrier, the protesters caught him and tortured him.
The police reached the site and tried to negotiate with the protesters with the help of elders in the area. They also assured the residents that power supply will be restored after which the protesters dispersed.
Meanwhile, residents of Liaquat Colony also protested at the Noorani bypass.
They complained that the area has been without electricity for the past three days. They also burnt tyres on the road and caused a severe traffic jam.
The protesters said that they had complained to the officials at the Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco) yet the authorities failed to restore power supply.
Protest in Khairpur
Residents of Gharibabad in Khairpur staged a protest demanding a new electricity transformer. The protesters, led by Pervaz Jamali, Arbelo Phalpoto and Muhammad Aslam, burnt tyres and complained that the transformer has not been fixed since two days.
Deharki grid station collapses
Power supply was suspended for more than 22 hours as a grid station in Deharki developed a fault.
SDO Hesco Syed Zulfiqar Ali Shah said that power supply had to be terminated as the 47-year-old high-power transformer developed a fault. He said that repairs on the transformer are underway.
A temporary set up has been arranged but it cannot take too much load so power outages can be expected to last up to four hours in the area, he said, adding that this schedule will continue until the transformer arrives from the head office in Lahore.
Electric poles set up in UC-13 in Sukkur
Meanwhile, the installation of electric poles in union council-13 of Sukkur has started from the funds handed over to MNA Noman Islam Sheikh. The Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) will set up these poles and provide electricity to Madina Colony and Qadir Buksh Brohi village.
A delegation of residents, led by Syed Imran Ali Shah, visited the political secretary of Senator Islamuddin Sheikh, Farrukh Adil Sheikh, to thank Noman Aslam Sheikh.
Chief minister’s promises
At the post-budget briefing on Saturday, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah said that Rs10 billion have been set aside in the upcoming financial year for coal energy - an area that the government has declared as its top priority. The Sindh government plans to utilise Thar’s coal reserves to quench the province’s electricity needs.
“The last government did not pay attention to this issue which is why the World Bank (WB) discontinued its support,” said Shah. According to him, the WB seemed interested once again and was thinking of working on block one of Thar’s coal fields.
“We are trying to approach foreign investors with the help of the federal government,” said the CM, adding that the government has already inked an agreement with Engro Power Generation Limited to work on one of the blocks in Thar. Under the agreement, the reserves will be divided with the Sindh government keeping 40 per cent of the share.
Published in the Express Tribune, June 16th, 2010.
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