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Dadu, Thull hit by protests over prolonged outages

Updated July 16, 2013

DADU/SUKKUR, July 15: People in large numbers took to the streets of Dadu and Thull towns on Monday in protest against the Sukkur Electric Power Company (Sepco) and the Wapda authorities for increasing, instead of decreasing, power loadshedding during Ramazan.

In Dadu town, protesters burnt tyres and staged noisy demonstrations at several railway crossings and a section of the Indus highway to block rail and road routes to condemn the power utilities for resorting to excessive loadshedding during the holy month.

Hundreds of vehicles, including passenger buses, trucks and trailers, remained stuck up on both sides of the affected section of the Indus Highway for two hours.

Led by Zahid Lund, Waheed Solangi and others, the angry protesters recalled that the government had announced considerable respite from outages during Ramazan by minimising the loadshedding hours.

Speaking to the protesters, Mr Lund said that instead of providing relief to citizens, the Sepco authorities not only increased the loadshedding but did not comply with the government’s directive that no loadshedding should be carried out during the Sehri and Iftar timings.

He appealed to the prime minister and Supreme Court chief justice to take action against the Sepco for violating the directive.

The protesters were carrying banners and placards inscribed with demands of minimising the loadshedding hours during Ramazan. They raised slogans against Wapda and Sepco and urged their high-ups to take action against the officials violating the directive.

They warned that the protest would be intensified if loadshedding was not reduced to a bearable level.

In Thull town of Jacobabad district, activists and supporters of the Pakistan Peoples Party and various social organisations took out a rally on Monday in protest against excessive electricity loadshedding in the fasting month.

The rally, led by Nazeer Ahmed Nonari, Haji Aarab Dayo, Barkat Dashti, Muzammil Banglani and others, started from the main bazaar of the town and culminated at the local press club. The protesters marched on various roads raising slogans against Sepco and demanding no loadshedding during Ramazan.

Speaking to the protesters outside the press club, their leaders said that Sepco had now resorted to carrying out loadshedding of up to 16 hours a day which compelled citizens to take to the streets. They said that in addition to the heavy loadshedding, local faults and disruption of power transmission further aggravated the situation. It was astonishing to note, they added, that the electricity bills being sent to consumers showed no low use although power supply to consumers in the town had been reduced to over 50 per cent for several months.

They said that loadshedding was being carried out at the Sehri, Iftar and Taraveeh timings as well despite promises made by the federal and provincial governments that nowhere power supply during these hours would be suspended.

They urged the high-ups of Sepco to take action against the local officials responsible for the situation.