A dark month: Protests continue across K-P as power woes escalate

Over 30 transformers in disrepair in Swabi, Swat as backlog clogs PESCO workshop.

Our Correspondents July 11, 2014


Pockets of protests erupted in three districts of the province on Thursday as electricity woes continue to escalate this summer.

In DI Khan, residents of Laarka and Chashma blocked the route to Mianwali, Punjab in protest. The blockade led to road congestion as traffic on the regular route between DI Khan and Punjab was suspended for several hours.

Complaining about power outages, low voltage and tripping, protesters warned if the government does not resolve their issues, they would continue demonstrating. They chanted slogans against the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) and the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) for failing to reduce outages during Ramazan. Accusing the government of lying, the protesters said it had claimed there would be no power outages during Iftari and Sehri but they faced blackouts at all times.

Laarka resident Azam Khan told The Express Tribune, “It is so hot this Ramazan, load-shedding makes fasting even harder.”

Police officials met protesters at the side, and promised to convey their grievances to government officials, bringing the protest to an end.

Meanwhile, dozens of residents from Shah Dherai and Langar villages in Swat gathered outside the Pesco office. Their electricity supply has been disconnected for the last 48 hours without any reason.

Transformer woes

Residents of both Swabi and Swat protested on Thursday against their respective Wapda circles over transformers which have been lying in a state of disrepair for several days.

In Barikot, Kabal, Khwazakhela and Mingora, at least 30 transformers remain out of order. Some of these areas have been living in a blackout for the past 10 to 15 days.

“Our transformers have not been working for 10 days now. We approached the Pesco office several times but they didn’t even let us enter their office,” said Sharif Khan, a resident in Akhtarabad, Mingora.

The transformer in Hayatabad, Mingora has also been in a state of disrepair for three days, the fourth breakdown in three weeks.

“For the last three break downs, we collected money from each house and repaired the transformer as Pesco didn’t. This time we told Pesco again but they paid no heed,” Jawadullah Khan, a Hayatabad resident, told The Express Tribune.

Two transformers in Barikot have been out of order for the last five days. Similarly, four transformers in Kanju, Kabal tehsil are out of order; two of them were damaged nine days ago.

Abdullah, a local journalist, said, “Our area in Qazi Baba has been in darkness for the last nine days, we have registered complaints but it was a fruitless endeavour.”

Like residents in Hayatabad, those in Odigram have also collected money to fix their area’s transformer. “We waited for Pesco to repair our transformer for 10 days and then we just collected money and repaired it ourselves,” said Barkat Ali, a resident of Odigram.

According to superintending engineer Fazal Rabi at the Pesco office in Saidu Sharif, the workshop where transformers are repaired is in Chakdara.  The large number of out-of-order transformers in the workshop has caused a backlog, he said.

Meanwhile, at a rally at Machli Chowk, people from Zaida in Swabi complained the transformers in their areas have not been repaired even though they stopped working at least six days ago.

Addressing the crowd, local leader Abdur Rehman said many complaints had been made to Wapda to repair the transformer of Machli Chowk but nothing had been done to fix the infrastructure. He lashed out at Assembly Speaker Asad Qasier, saying he remained unaware of the problems in his constituency of which Zaida is the main town.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2014. 


Furqan | 7 years ago | Reply

That's because once there is true democracy in Pakistan the problems will start solving....and pti is protesting with them [email protected] Hussain, Islamabad:

Khaja Hussain, Islamabad | 7 years ago | Reply

Imran Khan never bother about these small things. He will be busy challenging the polls for the next four years.

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