Electricity woes: Infuriated by power cuts, protesters turn violent

PESCO officials locked up; office furniture, records burnt.


Muhammad Sadaqat September 06, 2011

HARIPUR:


The residents of Haripur ransacked the sub divisional office of Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) on Monday and held its staff hostage after prolonged power outages. They also blocked the Abbottabad-Hassanabdal Road for over an hour as to protest against the power suspension.


Protester Javed Khan told The Express Tribune that an electricity transformer in Muhalla Nariyan Baldhair had burnt out on the 21st of Ramazan. However, Pesco officials, despite repeated requests, did not restore the power supply.

He claimed that the villagers had even paid Rs15,000 to the Pesco staff as ‘maintenance charges’, which was not supposed to be paid as it was the staff’s responsibility to repair and install the transformers.

After taking the money, Pesco staff installed an outdated transformer, which burnt down just two hours after it was installed. Since then, there has been no electricity in the entire area.

Naveed Gul, another protester, said that due to suspension of power, the villagers were facing a severe shortage of water. “We do not even have water for ablution in the mosques,” he remarked.

The protesters blocked the Abbottabad-Hassanabdal Road in front of the Pesco office at Baldhair, where they burnt logs as a mark of protest. They also locked Pesco officials inside a room and set the furniture and office records on fire.

However, a police contingent, headed by Deputy Superintendant of Police Abdul Saboor Khan reached the spot and cleared the road after negotiating with the protesters.

Earlier on Sunday, the residents of Abbottabad held a protest against Pesco and blocked the Abbottabad-Rawalpindi Road near Sultanpur.

The residents of Sultanpur, Havelian and adjoining areas had been facing suspension of electricity for the last 48 hours.

The residents blocked the busiest road in the area for over an hour and chanted slogans against Pesco authorities.

Auragnzeb Khan, a local PML-N leader, said that the power supply to Sultanpur and Havelian was suspended on Friday night. According to Pesco authorities, some unknown men had cut the high tension line. They assured that the electricity supply would be restored soon.

However, the authorities did not fulfil their promises despite repeated visits to Pesco officials, he said, due to which the people had been forced to take to the streets.

The protesters did not allow any vehicle to pass on the road, due to which hospital patients, children and elderly passengers suffered under the scorching heat.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2011.

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