LAHORE: Protests over unscheduled power outages continued across Punjab on Tuesday as demonstrators burnt effigies of senior government officials.
Protesters demanded the government to resign as they set ablaze effigies of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf. The demonstrators alleged that a few ministers have aggravated the power crisis by creating an artificial power shortage so that the government would be forced to opt for Rental Power Plants (RPPs) as a last resort.
“The minister for water and power is constantly pleading for RPPs as the only solution for the power crisis,” said Abid Hameed, a protester in Lahore. He said some ministers wanted to take commissions from RPPs. Demonstrators burnt tyres and blocked roads urging the government to overcome the power crisis or step down. “Although the government has been in office for more than two years it still has not been able to evolve a strategy to eradicate outages,” Habib Ahmed, another protester in Lahore said. Protests in the provincial capital took place in Township, Faisal Town, Shadbagh and the walled city.
As a result traffic was suspended and commuters faced severe issues. Protests were also held in Faisalabad, Mandi Bhaudin, Gujranwala and other cities. Traders closed shops and gathered in huge groups to block roads, burn tyres and effigies. Protestors also attacked a train which led the police to batoncharge them. It is to be noted that a couple of days ago, protesters in Jhelum blocked the GT Road for hours.
Punjab is faced with power outages of 14 to 20 hours every day. Electricity remains missing in urban areas for up to 14 hours while the rural areas have to face 20 hours of electricity cuts.
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