The Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) has decided to tackle political inference in its recovery campaign in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).
Pesco officials have filed reports against five people in Pabbi, who constitute the local leadership of the Awami National Party (ANP). Pesco claims they have created illegal power connections and led hundreds of locals to the power distribution system to reconnect lines that had been cut off by the company.
Police said that an FIR was registered against Arbab Noor Hussain, Iran Badshah, Saidul Ibrar Raj and Jehangir for drawing electricity illegally from an 1100KV transmission line in the area. However, no one has yet been arrested.
The Express Tribune learnt that with the support of the ANP’s local leadership, nearly 500 people reconnected power lines in Amankot-Pabbi, which had been removed by Pesco during its detection and recovery campaign.
Pesco had disconnected electricity supply to the consumers concerned because they had not given their dues, while some had illegal connections.
“We cannot allow them to have direct power connections,” said Pesco’s Superintendent Engineer Nadeem Anwar, who is heading the recovery campaign. Pesco currently faces around Rs7.6 million in unpaid electricity bills against public power consumers in the Amankot area. Anwar said that a 10-member delegation of local elders, who visited the company’s office, had been told that until 50% of all unpaid dues have not been submitted, power supply will remain cut off.
“Pesco is seeking the provincial government’s help against the interference of influential people to stop power pilferage”, said Pesco spokesperson, Shaukat Afzal.
“Residents with arms reconnected the power supply that we cut off,” Afzal added. “How can we stop power pilferage in the face of political interference?”
He added that Pesco officials disconnected electricity again, but locals with certain political leadership and armed personal took the law “into their hands while the police stood by as silent spectators.”
Pesco has decided to take up the matter with the provincial government, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2012.
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