The powerless: Traders, students protest against loadshedding

Traders give MEPCO 48 hours to fix the problem.


Kashif Zafar May 21, 2013
The protesters, mostly local traders, said that loadshedding for more than 18 hours a day had nearly closed down their business. PHOTO: FILE

BAHAWALPUR:


In several demonstrations against unscheduled loadshedding from Saturday through Monday, protesters in Bahawalpur demanded that loadshedding hours be brought down immediately.


Most parts of the city have been receiving electricity for as little as four hours a day. The loadshedding has affected municipal water supply in many areas.

Traders take to streets

The participants of a rally organised by the Anjuman-i-Tajran on Monday blocked the Yazman Road for more than four hours.

The protesters, mostly local traders, said that loadshedding for more than 18 hours a day had nearly closed down their business.



Asif Shah, the Anjuman-i-Tajran Yazman Road president said that the Yazman Road market was the worst affected.

Referring to the lengthy outages, he said, “This is not loadshedding. This is punishment.”

He said Bahawalpur’s people could neither sleep at night, nor work during the day. He demanded that the Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco) improve the situation to avert a resort to violence by citizens.

Several residents of housing colonies on Yazman Road also joined the protest.

The protesters dispersed after some district government officers and policemen visited the scene and assured them (protestors) that the matter would be taken ip with the authorities.

Leaders of the traders, who had mounted a similar protest on Sunday, gave Mepco 48 hours to fix the problem.

Boarding students want generators

Separately, boarders at the Islamia University hostel staged a demonstration at the University Chowk in Bahawalpur. The students had earlier rallied on Saturday and Sunday blocked the road for several hours.



During Monday’s protest, they said there were no standby generators. They said they were facing a lot of problems due to long loadshedding hours as they were preparing for their examinations.

They said there was limited water supply at the hostel and was inadequate.  They said it got finished every day by the time half of the boarders got ready for university.

The students demanded that the vice chancellor immediately provide generators for the hostel.

The students dispersed after the vice chancellor visited the scene and assured them that generators were being acquired and would soon be installed.

Ice sale on the rise

Ice vendors in the city say the demand for ice has increased tremendously. It is being sold for Rs15 to Rs20 per kilogram.

They say people owning refrigerators have also started buying ice due to increased loadshedding.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2013.

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