People take to streets in Swat, Swabi against inflated power bills

Published August 23, 2022
People stage a protest outside the Pesco office in Saidu Sharif, Swat, on Monday. — Dawn
People stage a protest outside the Pesco office in Saidu Sharif, Swat, on Monday. — Dawn

SWAT/SWABI: A large number of people took to the streets on Monday against imposition of fuel cost adjustment (FCA) charges and other taxes in the electricity bills.

In Swat, residents of Amankot, Faizabad, Rahimabad, Saidu Sharif, Gul Kada, Panr and other suburbs of Mingora marched from their respective areas and gathered in front of the Peshawar Electric Supply Company office in Saidu Sharif.

They held banners and placards inscribed with slogans and chanted against the inclusion of high FCA charges in their power bills.

Later, the protesters marched towards the Swat Press Club, where their leaders, including local government members, said the current month’s bills were heavily laden with FCA and other taxes.

“My actual electricity bill, the cost of the units consumed, is Rs2,000, but the overall bill goes up to over Rs6,500, including FCA and other taxes. I am a day labourer and don’t have enough money to pay the huge bill,” said Izhar Ali, a resident of Amankot.

Abdul Khaliq, a resident of Miangano Cham area, said his salary was Rs18,000 and received an electricity bill of Rs21,000 with over Rs10,000 FCA in it.

The protesters said Swat was a tax-free zone, and collection of any tax from people was illegal.

In Swabi, power consumers staged a demonstration against imposition of FCA and other taxes in power bills, and demanded that such levies be withdrawn.

The consumers belonging to 20 union councils of Razaar tehsil gathered in Shewa Adda, the tehsil headquarters, holding electricity bills in their hands and chanting slogans against the government.

The protesters also went to the Pesco office, but the power company officials refused to meet the charged protesters. Later, the people blocked the Swabi-Mardan Road.

Some consumers tore up their power bills.

The protesters demanded of the federal government to withdraw the FCA in their power bills.

Faqir Mohammad, an elderly man, said he had received Rs8,000 bill, and expressed his inability to pay off the amount. He said the government was robbing the people with both hands.

Javid Khan of Tarakai village said the protesters had given a week’s time to Pesco staff to rectify the bills, or they would stage a sit-in on the Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway.

Published in Dawn, August 23rd, 2022

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