Energy woes: Unscheduled load shedding provokes protests

Protests held in Sahiwal, Pakpattan, Bhakkar, Layyah, Bahawalnagar and DG Khan


Owais Qarni June 19, 2015
Protests held in Sahiwal, Pakpattan, Bhakkar, Layyah, Bahawalnagar and DG Khan. PHOTO: FILE

MULTAN:


Scores of residents of Lohar Colony staged a protest demonstration on Friday against Multan Electric Power Company over unscheduled power outages.


Protests against unscheduled load shedding were also reported from Sahiwal, Pakpattan, Bhakkar, Layyah, Bahawalnagar and Dera Ghazi Khan.

The protesters, mostly youth of the colony, beat drums and chanted slogans against the Ministry of Water and Power. They tore down posters and filled walls of the colony with graffiti against the government.

“We have been facing unscheduled load shedding for three days,” said Muhammad Irfan, a resident of Lohar Colony. “Residents of the colony have run out of water. Our refrigerators are not running, food goes bad and there is no water,” he said. “We don’t know how we will prepare iftar because power has still not been restored,” said Muhammad Hussein, another protester.

He said power had gone out soon after sehar and had not returned for eight hours.

“It is the first day of fasting and there seems to be no relief from the scorching weather,” he said. He said several complaints had been lodged with the MEPCO but no action had been taken to resolve the issue.

Akram Khan, another protester, said the government had made tall promises during election campaigns for ending load shedding and providing relief to the people.  “Is this the relief they were promising us?” he said. Mustafa Mehmood, a show owner, said many businesses in the area had been affected because of load shedding. “We cannot store ice creams and drinks in cool places,” he said.  The protesters blocked Multan-Vehari road for several hours. They burnt tyres chanted slogans against unscheduled load shedding.

A MEPCO spokesman said they were maintaining a six-hour load shedding schedule in urban areas and eight hours in rural areas. He said there was no unscheduled load shedding taking place. He said a meeting of senior MEPCO officials had veen called to review security of MEPCO installations. He said they would also deliberate on a new load shedding schedule.

The Met Department officials told The Express Tribune that that maximum temperature recorded in Multan was 48 degrees Celcius.

They said the heat wave would continue for three more days.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2015.

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