Citizen equality: Court orders abolition of housing societies’ exemption from loadshedding

Judge observes they have failed to eliminate power theft, loadshedding.


Our Correspondent August 17, 2012

LAHORE:


Directing the authorities and departments concerned to take steps to eradicate loadshedding and ensure equal distribution, the Lahore High Court chief justice on Friday ordered abolition of exemption given to certain housing societies.


The CJ is hearing a petition against electricity loadshedding during sehr, iftar and prayer timings. The hearing was adjourned till September 12.

The CJ expressed dissatisfaction with the federal government’s failure to fulfil its ‘constitutional obligation’ regarding elimination of load shedding.

He observed that the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), too, had failed to evolve a mechanism to eliminate electricity theft and curb line losses.

The court allowed a plea to make distribution companies necessary parties and sought replies from them.

Judicial Activism Panel Chairman Advocate Azhar Siddique filed the petition saying that Punjab was being subjected to discrimination in loadshedding and given less share of electricity.

He said that power theft was worse other provinces and recovery of dues lower than that in the Punjab.

He said that all public hospitals were exempt from loadshedding but last month three patients had died due to loadshedding at these hospitals.

He said the Bahria Town Housing Society in Lahore was also exempt from loadshedding in violation of Articles 9 and 25 of the Constitution.

When asked by the court, counsel for the Water and Power Development Distribution Authority sought time to file a reply in this regard.

Siddique said that at a previous hearing the court had directed the federal government and the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) to carry out equal loadshedding across the country, but to no avail.

Siddique also presented a published statement of the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee Chairman Nadeem Afzal Chan against “unfair and unscheduled loadshedding”.

The petitioner said that despite an announcement made by the minister of water and power, citizens of the Punjab were facing long hours of loadshedding.

He requested the court to direct the federal government, Wapda, Pepco, and the distribution companies in the Punjab to ensure that there was no loadshedding at prayer times.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2012.

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