HANGU: The Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) on Tuesday disconnected electricity supply to four villages in Thal sub-division of Hangu over refusal to pay bills.
Residents of the villages, which have a combined population of 7,000, refused to pay their outstanding dues and thus local officials had to cut off their electricity supply, said Wapda’s spokesperson in Hangu, Hayat Wazir Bangash. “Villagers in Torah Warhi, Torah Ghundai, Koti and Miankh have not paid bills for the past 10 years, despite the fact that multiple jirgas have been held between the elders and local officers of Wapda.”
Bangash claimed they suggested to the jirga that villagers can pay the outstanding dues in installments but they still refused, forcing Wapda to take the unpopular step. “They don’t just refuse to pay bills, they have also assaulted officers who went to check electricity meters in their area,” he added.
“The power supply will only be restored when they clear their dues, which amount to Rs100 million,” he maintained.
Faqir Khan, an elder, said villagers told Wapda officers during the jirga they were willing to pay bills in installments if the authority promises to provide uninterrupted power supply for at least 12 hours a day.
“The Wapda officers refused our request,” Faqir said, adding before the power was disconnected the villages only had electricity for two hours a day and that too with low voltage. The elder warned disgruntled residents would protest against Wapda in the next few days and the officers would be responsible for the consequences.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2013.