Protests against power cuts continue across country
03 June, 2012
FAISALABAD: Protests against hours of power cuts continued across the country on Saturday while Faisalabad, the country's industrial hub, remained shut to all business activities for the second consecutive day.
Traders in Faisalabad have been on a three-day strike since Friday against up to 22 hours of load shedding in the third largest city of the country.
The shutter-down strike continued on Saturday and all business centres and markets were closed. Protesters blocked several city roads, burnt tyres and pelted stones at vehicles and government installations. Traders also staged a major protest rally at Ghanta Ghar intersection.
Kutchery Bazaar, Rail Bazaar, Karkhana Bazaar, Montgomery Bazaar, Jhang Bazaar, Bhawana Bazaar, Aminpur Bazaar, Chiniot Bazaar and markets around Jaranwala Road, at D-Ground, Satiana Road and Madina Town were closed for the day.
A large number of industrial workers also joined the protests and blocked traffic by burning tyres on the roads. The protesters said the power shutdown in different areas had made it impossible for them to earn their livelihoods. Long power outages have affected water supply to the area.
In Peshawar, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) also protested against prolonged and unscheduled power cuts, and its workers marched to Peshawar Press Club from FC Chowk.
The demonstrators chanted slogans against the government and said that leaders had failed in providing relief to people.
Urban areas of Peshawar are facing at least 13 hours of power outages a day while 16 hours of load shedding is taking place in rural areas. The misery of citizens increases when power remains shut due to technical faults, adding to the overall poor situation.
Other districts facing unending power cuts include Kohat, Mardan, Charsadda, Nowshera and Swabi.
Protests were also reported in Jhang and Dera Ghazi Khan.
In Karachi, a protest against the Karachi Electricity Supply Company (KESC) over power outages turned violent, causing massive traffic jam on Shahrah-e-Pakistan for hours.
However, police managed to disperse protesters after peaceful negotiations.
A heavy contingent of Rangers was also called in to tackle the situation. Scores of residents and shopkeepers of Liaquatabad No 1, 2, 3 and 4 smashed windowpanes of over half-a-dozen vehicles during a protest.
A police officer said that said no vehicle had been set on fire. The protesters also gathered in Liaquatabad No 10, burnt tyres and later restored to aerial shooting, creating panic.
Meanwhile, KESC claimed that the extensive equipment damage and ensuing losses were caused by the incident of fire at the Al-Karam Substation Liaquatabad. According to a preliminary investigation by a KESC team, it became evident that the fire was caused by the persisting overloading by the illegal and unauthorised heavy commercial load connected to the system via illegal connections.
The area substation was completely burnt by the fire on Friday that also destroyed expensive enclosed equipment, which included a 1,000KVA transformer, four HT switches and an LT panel. The fire incident led to a power outage in the adjacent areas.
KESC said that the two main projects were affected by the substation fire, Al-Karam Square and Apsara Apartment, both are "very high loss" locations for the utility.