Power outages: Political tussle leaves villages in darkness

Villages in the Charsadda district suffer due to wrangling over local grid station.

Abdur Rauf July 27, 2012


Political wrangling between an Awami National Party (ANP) provincial minister and the chief of Pakistan Peoples Party- Sherpao (PPP-S) has plunged villages in Charsadda district into darkness for over a month.

The Express Tribune has learnt that around 50,000 people from 15 villages in Charsadda have had to bear the brunt of power supply politics between ANP leader and current Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) law minister Arshad Abdullah and PPP-S chief Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao.

Abdur Razaq, a resident of Amirabad, said that they received their power supply from the Sheikhabad Grid Station (SGS) for 10 days, but Abdullah and his men disconnected the line on June 21, 2012.

The reason, according to him, was that Sherpao had spent around Rs1.4 million to set up new power pylons. The pylons were supposed to allay the burden on
Tangi Grid Station (TGS) by diverting some power from SGS.

TGS is situated in an area under the political sway of Sherpao, while SGS is located in an area that constitutes Abdullah’s vote bank. People getting their power from SGS complained of low voltage to Abdullah, after Sherpao used his influence to divert the supply to new villages. Abdullah allegedly cut off the supply by bringing down several of the power pylons Sherpao built to the ground.

Fazal Wahab, a resident of Jan Abad, said that for the last one month there has been a blackout in the whole area.

“ANP never get tired of talking about the philosophy of non-violence... (but) rather than coming up with a solution, Abdullah resorted to cutting the power supply for thousands of people,” said Musa Khan, former nazim from Amirabad Pul.

Shahjehan, a Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco)official from the area, confirmed that the issue might not be resolved soon.

Abdullah, however,
denied any involvement in the issue. He said that his presence was politicised and he has nothing to do with power pylons.

Sikandar Sherpao said that it was Pesco’s responsibility to solve the consumers’ problems.

“I don’t know but people said Abdullah was among those who had cut off the power supply to the area,” he said, adding that the electricity to the area was cut off twice.

He said that the provision of the power supply was approved from Pesco as setting up a new feeder will take some time as well as a cost of about Rs8-9 million.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2012.