The Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (FESCO) headquarters in Faisalabad was attacked on Monday by scores of factory workers, who were protesting against an increase in load-shedding hours for factories in various parts of Faisalabad.
The rioters dispersed after factory owners were assured that industrial feeders would be exempted from forced load shedding.
The angry protesters, led by some factory owners, had marched to the Fesco headquarters on Abdullahpur Canal Road and staged a sit-in.
Holding banners and placards with anti-Fesco slogans inscribed on them, the protesters demanded uninterrupted power supply to the industrial feeders.
When nobody from the office met them for more than an hour, some of the protesters moved closer to the main gate and tried to push it open.
Security guards tried to stop them and warned them of baton charge. It was when some of the guards pushed some protesters away, several protesters then started throwing stones at the building.
Police were called, but before they arrived the protesters who were threatened with teargas had already moved back.
The sit-in, however, continued for several hours.
Reiterating their demand for an uninterrupted power supply to factory units, the protesters warned Fesco authorities of district-wide protests.
Muhammad Lateef, one of the protestors, told The Express Tribune that the power loom he worked at in Ghulam Muhammadabad was getting power for only two-four hours daily.
He said due to the acute shortage of electricity, the factories were running losses and that it was affecting the workers.
The protesters ended the sit-in after some factory owners were called to meet senior Fesco officials.
Later, Fesco spokesman Tahir Sheikh told The Express Tribune that all industrial feeders would be exempted from extra load shedding. He said severe electricity shortage was being faced due to the increase in the demand of electricity over a few weeks.
He hoped that the Punjab government’s ‘energy saving plan’ would be useful and help in saving maximum electricity.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 7th, 2013.
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