Growers block highways to protest power cuts

GAC leader says unannounced, prolonged load-shedding had severely damaged the standing crops and fruit orchards


Syed Ali Shah March 03, 2023
Photo: File

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QUETTA:

Balochistan Growers Action Committee (GAC) blocked all highways across Balochistan against the unscheduled load-shedding in the province.

Due to the protests, intra-district transport remained suspended, creating problems for the commuters.

“Quetta Electric Supply Company (CQESCO) has been deliberately doing 20-hour load-shedding across Balochistan on daily basis,” Syed Abdul Qahar Agha, the central leader of the GAC claimed. He said unannounced and prolonged load-shedding had severely damaged the standing crops and fruit orchards across the province.

A large number of growers blocked the main Quetta-Karachi highway at Johan Kalat to register their protest.

Prince Laal Jan Ahmedzai led the protest demonstration, demanding the restoration of power supply to rural Balochistan.

Traffic between Quetta to Karachi remained suspended as a result of the blockade of the highway too.

“We want justice and an end to the prolonged hours of power outage,” Ahmedzai said, adding that the growers had suffered billions rupees of losses because of the non-availability of electricity as agriculture sector was completely dependent on tube wells in the province.

Long queues of vehicles could be seen on the roads and the passengers including women and children faced great hardships for hours without inviting much attention from the authorities.

The GAC had also blocked the main Quetta-Chaman Road at Yaro.

The enraged protesters chanted slogans against the provincial and federal governments and the WAPDA.

The growers’ load-shedding problem was also discussed in the Balochistan Assembly the other day and a delegation of lawmakers also visited Islamabad to meet the federal minister for power. However, they were unable to meet the minister due to his busy schedule.

QESCO Chief, Engineer Kareem Jamali said there were billions of rupees outstanding dues against the farmers in Balochistan which they are unwilling to pay.

He said the growers were reluctant to pay their bills and QESCO had no other option but to go for prolonged hours of load-shedding.

Jamali also said that power consumption was high while the supply was less.

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