Power breakdown hits Swabi refugee camp

SWABI, June 30: Electricity supply to Afghan refugee camp, Gandaf, remained suspended for the fifth consecutive day on Sunday because of non-payment of Rs10.5 million outstanding bills to the Peshawar Electric Supply Company.

Elders of the refugees told Dawn that the issue of power supply had been haunting them for the last one year. They said that the Wapda had increased per unit price in June last year and the refugees had challenged the decision in the Peshawar High Court.

The case has been under process, they said and demanded that they should also be charged by the Pesco like local subjects of the country. They said that they had been suffering in the sizzling heat without power supply.

A visit to the camp revealed that many families had been suffering due to suspension of power supply.

“The Pesco staff has violated the decision made by the committee comprising two Wapda officers, Afghan commissioner, Afghan councillor and refugee leaders,” said Saiful Maluk, a refugee.

Haji Tuti said that the committee had decided that power supply should not be cut till the decision of the court and the refugees should pay their bills at the old rates applicable before the hike in per unit price.

The refugee elders said that power supply to the refugees’ hospital had also been suspended and the patients continued to face problems.

When contacted, Wapda officials said that about Rs10.5 million had been outstanding against the Afghan refugees. “We have no business with the refugees because the Pesco supplies power to the contractor and he is bound to pay the outstanding amount,” said a Wapda officer.

He said that they would not restore power supply to the refugee camp before payment of the dues. — Correspondent

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