MINGORA/ PESHAWAR/ CHARSADDA/ MARDAN/ BATKHELA: Hundreds of people from different cities of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa continued to protest on Tuesday against the government’s failure to curb power outages during Ramazan, as had been promised earlier.
Residents of Peshawar and adjacent areas have demanded the provincial government to take action against Wapda for carrying out load-shedding during Iftar, Sehri and Taraweeh timings despite the government’s orders to not do so.
Residents of Chugalpura held a protest against Pesco and asked the Peshawar High Court chief justice to take notice of the outages and order relevant authorities to reduce load-shedding.
A protest was held on Jalala Road while another was held on Shamsi Road.
Scores of residents of Shergarh blocked main Malakand Road for over an hour and chanted slogans against Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited and the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda).
The demonstrators said they not only face power outages but gas load-shedding as well. “We are forced to have Sehri at midnight as there is no gas to prepare food at Sehri timings,” said a demonstrator.
After blocking the road for over an hour, the protesters dispersed peacefully.
Residents of Rajjar and Shabqadar tehsils held demonstrations against load-shedding and blocked main roads from 9am to 11am.
Meanwhile, a disgruntled mob attacked Shabqadar Grid Station and pelted stones at the building. Earlier, they had marched towards the station, but paramilitary troops prevented them from entering the building.
The protesters chanted slogans against Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) officials while a few teenagers threw bricks at the grid station. Fortunately, no loss was reported.
Hundreds of people from union council Pirano Kallay protested against 20-hour-long power outages in their area.
Addressing protesters at Batkhela Bazaar, elders Pir Azmat Shah and Rasheed Khan lashed out at the government and threatened to blow up all electricity towers in their area if Pesco did not solve the issue immediately. The elders said it was better if the government just cut off their power supply completely instead of giving them only two hours of electricity a day.
Meanwhile, residents of Sharifabad and Khataki gathered in front of Batkhela Press Club and chanted slogans against the government. They blocked the main Malakand Road for nearly an hour before scattering peacefully.
Hundreds of angry protesters blocked Mingora-Shangla Road in protest against unprecedented load-shedding and a broken down transformer in Khwazakhela. They chanted slogans against Wapda and MPAs and MNAs from their area.
Traders Association President Sher Alam Kaka said the area’s transformer has been out of order for over 10 days and despite many visits to Wapda’s office it is yet to be repaired.
Similarly, Mingora-Madyan Road was also blocked by protesters at Shahdara. The protesters claimed even their water supply had been disconnected for the past 10 days and they were forced to collect water from far off places.
They dispersed after elected representatives arrived and assured them the issue would be resolved within 24 hours.
Electricity supply remained suspended on Monday from 3pm till midnight in the city, and till Tuesday morning in villages because of a fault in Tank district’s grid station. As a result, enraged residents of these areas held a protest at Gul Imam Chowk on Tuesday.
Hundreds of protesters blocked the Tank-Peshawar Road for over an hour in protest against the prolonged outage. They burned tyres and chanted slogans against Wapda and both provincial and federal governments.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2013.
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