POWER shortages are rising. So are tempers. People in many parts of Punjab have been out on the streets for more than a month now to vent their anger resulting from the long and unannounced power cuts. At some places the protesters have been violent, mobbing Pepco offices as well as other government installations, smashing vehicles and setting private property on fire. At least one man lost his life in Lahore last month when power protesters attacked a petrol pump. This kind of violence was once again witnessed on Thursday in Lahore, Toba Tek Singh and Gujranwala when a large number of people, including traders and industrial workers, took to the streets to disrupt road and rail traffic. What followed was excessive force by police in Toba Tek Singh to prevent the protesters from damaging private property. This amounts to treating only the symptoms and that too with a level of force that can only incite people further. That is not how the escalating power protests should be tackled. How long can the authorities expect those whose livelihood is in jeopardy because of the power shortages to keep their cool?

The solution lies in providing the people with enough electricity in their homes, shops and factories. No doubt, given our resources at present, this is a tall order. But the decision-makers must at least be seen to be taking earnest steps towards a solution. Instead, they continue to promise and boast, allowing their credibility to be further eroded, and adopt unpopular measures, as they did at the energy conference in Lahore earlier this month, as the ‘best’ short-term solution to the energy crisis. They proposed little at the conference that would eliminate or reduce supply gaps, and people are justified in asking the rulers why they are spending millions on lecturing them on the austere use of power. Going forward, the electricity crunch is projected to increase. So are the power protests. There is no guarantee the protesters will not turn even more violent, and the government will have no one to blame but itself.

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Comments (5)

malik100
April 21, 2012 1:54 pm
nothing good happens in that country
Fuzail Z. Ahmad
April 21, 2012 2:36 pm
This is yet another instance of politicians failing in their jobs, especially those in the opposition. Instead of acknowledging that not enough electricity generation capacities exist, they are blaming the sitting government. Also these opposition politicians need to acknowledge that budget deficit controls is limiting the government's ability to release funds to the IPP's. The editorial rightly mentions that the government is not seen to be doing enough to address the capacity and fiscal shortfalls. The government must be seen to be cutting expenses to make room for payments to the IPP's. But even if the IPP's start producing to their capacities, electricity bill per unit for the public, trade, services and industry might have to rise because IPP's cost per unit is very high as compared to hydel source. There does not seem to be a quick fix but the politicians must put their act together and address the issue at least for the future.
M. Asghar
April 21, 2012 3:14 pm
The way the government has been behaving to deal with the more and more crippling energy crisis, shows that there is no hope in improving the situation. I can see only one way out this desperate situation :The Apex Cour must take up the issue under a suo motu motion to see as to what is going on and try to find a way out.
M, bugti
April 21, 2012 4:06 pm
they don't know what they want to do for relaxation for people they are just making fool to people .After all this is not just work of government the nation have to think about to not to use illegal power . what should we do , Again this is going to blame on government that they should have to lower the price of electricity ... more of this is going blame on government
M. Asghar
April 21, 2012 9:33 pm
There are the right laws to be applied for any infraction by the relevant authorities and all of these authoritiies are either irresponsable or incompetent leadinfg to a zero-sum game of merry-go-round.
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