Citizens blow a fuse over power outages

Mob attacks KE grid station, vandalises its office; citizens warn of more protests


Naeem Khanzada June 26, 2020

KARACHI: An irate mob, angered by long hours of electricity suspension amid Karachi’s sizzling heat, attacked a K-Electric (KE) grid station in SITE Area on Thursday. Shouting slogans against the power utility, vexed protesters even broke into and vandalised KE’s office in the area.

The situation was not much different elsewhere in the city, where citizens lambasted KE for failing to provide relief despite the hot weather and a pandemic.

Demanding immediate resolution for their grievances, they warned of more demonstrations on Friday.

The call for protest has raised the possibility of worsening law and order situation in the city, with the public anger simmering in the midst of soaring temperatures.

The recent hot spell in the city, with mercury hitting 40 degrees Celsius on Thursday, means the demand for electricity has grown simultaneously. However, apparently unable to meet the surging demand, KE machinery has collapsed under the increasing pressure.

Consequently, various neighbourhoods across the country’s financial capital, including Korangi, Landhi, Surjani Town, North Karachi, Malir, Saudabad, Keamari, Mehmoodabad and Baldia Town, are being subjected to 10 to 12 hours of load shedding. Even areas that were earlier declared to have been exempted from loadshedding are also experiencing prolonged power outages.

The suspension of power to pumping stations has also given rise to a water shortage in the city, much to the citizens’ ire.

Many disgruntled residents of the metropolis have also pointed out that students, most of whom have been taking classes online, are forced to step out with no electricity at home, even at the risk of contracting the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, KE, facing heavy criticism for paying no heed to the citizens’ plight, has attributed the prolonged loadshedding to the shortage of furnace oil and gas, claiming that the situation would normalise soon given the government’s decision to import the fuel.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2020.

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