ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) has decided to take action against the illegal installation of meters in banned sectors in the capital.

Iesco employees and a sub-divisional officer (SDO) have already been removed from their posts, and an inquiry to identify the number of illegal connections installed in banned sectors has begun.

According to the Capital Development Authority (CDA), there are around 100 illegal housing societies in the capital that have violated the authority’s layout plan.

In 2017, then CDA member planning Asad Mehboob Kayanisent separate letters to the heads of government institutions seeking their assistance in stopping illegal construction in the capital, but the CDA has not developed any mechanism so far to monitor such developments across the city.

At the time, Iesco was asked not to provide new utility connections to anyone in Islamabad without a prior no-objection certificate (NOC) issued by the authority. Since then, electricity meters have not been installed in housing societies that are not approved by the CDA.

Sohail Sheikh, who lives in E-11, told Dawn that he was been trying to obtain a meter for his house but was informed by Iesco staff that new connections are banned.

“I live in a rented house in the same sector. One night while I was on a walk, Iesco officials appeared outside a house and installed a meter within minutes and provided an electricity connection. Because I have been suffering due to this issue, I stayed there until all the lights in the house were turned on and then Iesco staff left in a very good mood,” he claimed.

“I went to the office of my housing society but an official told me I should find someone in Iesco to get a new connection,” he said.

Another Islamabad resident, Mohammad Naeem, said he had learned that meters were recently installed at a multi-storey building in E-11.

“It is unfortunate that resourceful people get meters and the others do not. There should be a clear policy to give meters to people who have been suffering, and take action against the managements of the housing societies,” he said.

Iesco Executive Engineer Asifullah Khan confirmed that some company employees had installed illegal connections in banned sectors of the capital.

“An inquiry regarding the issue is in progress and an SDO has been changed. Action will be taken against those guilty,” he said.

“However I hope that CDA would soon finalise the standard operating procedure regarding the installation of meters in banned sectors and after that everyone will be able to get meters,” he said.

Minister of Planning Asad Umar, who was elected from Islamabad, has also said in a number of meetings with residents of the capital that he would play a role in allowing the installation of meters without a CDA NOC.

Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2020