After violent protests in KP, power riots erupt in Sindh

Updated May 31 2017


KARACHI: Policemen remove burning obstacles placed by protesters on a road on Tuesday after a vast area of the city suffered a major power outage.—Online
KARACHI: Policemen remove burning obstacles placed by protesters on a road on Tuesday after a vast area of the city suffered a major power outage.—Online

KARACHI/HYDERABAD: Like Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, power riots broke out in many cities across Sindh on Tuesday as citizens experienced prolonged power cuts in the prevailing hot and humid weather during the month of Ramazan.

Residents of half of Sindh’s districts and Karachi had to spend another sleepless night because of an EHT tripping — second in three days — that deprived them of electricity for at least six hours.

Enraged people took to the streets at many places in Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Badin, Sukkur, Khairpur and other districts to vent their anger against the K-Electric and Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco).

Hesco official says EHT line tripping affected 13 districts

At several places in the province, authorities called in police and paramilitary Rangers to disperse the protesting crowds and prevent further aggravation of the situation.

No casualty, however, was reported from any part of the province.

In Karachi, major protests were witnessed in Orangi Town, Nazimabad, Liaquatabad, Lasbela, Saudabad, Malir 15, Shah Faisal Colony, Landhi, Korangi, Gulistan-e-Jauhar and several other localities.

Irate people chanted slogans and set old tyres and wooden stuff on fire on main roads to suspend vehicular traffic. They also pelted moving vehicles with stones.

An angry mob stormed an office of the KE in Nazimabad locality and torched the kiosk of private security guards. Violent youths ransacked the office furniture and tried to torch it too. However, police and Rangers reached the scene and managed to disperse the protesters.

In Hyderabad, irate residents of Khata Chowk and Cheetal Chari stormed the City Cloth Market asking the shopkeepers to shut their businesses in protest over the prolonged power failures.

The protesters lit bonfires at Fakir Ka Pir and City Cloth Market area against non-supply of electricity. Vehicular traffic remained suspended on the main road for a few hours and the market remained shut for several hours.

Similar demonstrations were also held in Badin, Tando Bago, Matli Talhar, Nondo Shahar and other areas, where residents complained that the duration of loadshedding had reached to 18-20 hours in a day.

People of Larkana also protested against the Sukkur Electric Power Company (Sepco) for carrying out unannounced loadshedding.

There was no significant improvement in the power supply situation and all distribution companies were carrying out loadshedding to bridge the demand-supply gap.

About the EHT line tripping, a Hesco spokesman said that it affected 13 districts of Sindh — Hyderabad, Jamshoro, Thatta, Sujawal, Badin, Tando Mohammad Khan, Tando Allahyar, Mirpurkhas, Umarkot, Tharparkar, Sanghar, Shaheed Benazirabad and Matiari.

The KE also said in a statement that power supply to various parts of Karachi was affected for “a few hours” because of EHT line tripping.

The Hesco spokesman said the Jamshoro 500-kV circuit of the National Transmission and Despatch Company tripped because of moisture. The Jamshoro thermal power plant, Lakhra coal power plant, gas-powered Kotri power house, Hubco and Nooriabad’s wind mill power plant had stopped because of the tripping.

He said that 16 towers of 500-KV fell because of heavy wind in Guddu, Shikarpur, Dadu and Jamshoro areas on May 21 and the repair work was still going on. Until all towers were erected, complete power supply could not be ensured to the entire Hesco region.

Published in Dawn, May 31st, 2017