Protests erupt in towns, cities against surcharge in electricity bills

Published August 23, 2022
Residents of Gulshan-i-Ravi protest on Bund Road against surcharge in electricity bills. — White Star
Residents of Gulshan-i-Ravi protest on Bund Road against surcharge in electricity bills. — White Star

TOBA TEK SINGH: Hundreds of people held a protest at Rajana Chowk on Monday and blocked traffic bound for Multan, Faisalabad, Jhang and Chichawatni against the Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (Fesco) over ‘inflated’ domestic and commercial bills on the ‘pretext’ of fuel price adjustment (FPA).

The protesters waved electricity bills and raised slogans against the government and the electricity supply company.

In Faisalabad, scores of villagers blocked traffic on the Jhang Road and burnt their inflated power bills during the protest.

In Jhang, scores of women and men staged a similar protest against Fesco and chanted slogans against it at the Garh Morr Chowk. They blocked traffic going to different locations and announced that they would not pay the bills for current month which had been increased without any logic.

People refuse to pay bills in Faisalabad, Jhang, Shorkot; Mepco office besieged in RYK

In Shorkot, on the call of the Markazi Anjuman Tajiran, the traders and citizens took out a big rally against Fesco in the city for issuing domestic and commercial electricity bills almost double than the cost of the electricity. The traders held a strike too.

The procession started from Usmania Bazaar and reached Tehsil Chowk where they set used tyres ablaze and blocked the traffic going towards Bhakkar, Jhang, Multan and Shorkot Cantonment for more than two hours. They set their power bills on fire and chanted slogans against the federal government and Fesco.

RAHIM YAR KHAN: A special person joins a protest against high electricity bills. — Dawn
RAHIM YAR KHAN: A special person joins a protest against high electricity bills. — Dawn

On the other hand, different political parties and trade unions of Faisalabad decided to hold a demonstration at Faisalabad’s District Council Chowk against inflated electricity bills on Wednesday and take out a procession from the roundabout till the headquarters of Fesco.

The political parties and trade unions of Faisalabad decided to hold a protest demonstration at Faisalabad’s District Council Chowk against inflated electricity bills on Wednesday and take out a procession from the roundabout till the headquarters of the Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (Fesco).

The decision was made in a joint convention at Faisalabad Labour Peace Hall, presided over by Labour Qaumi Movement Chairman Baba Latif Ansari on Wednesday.

He told the media that a delegation of labour organisations from Jhang, Chiniot and Toba Tek Singh would also join the protest. He added that representative of political and labour organisations which endorsed the protest call included the Jamaat-i-Islami, Haqooq-i-Khalq Party, Awami Workers Party, Pakistan Labour Qaumi Movement, Women Workers Alliance, Bhatta Mazdoor Tehreek, Strongman Textile Workers Union, Sitara Label Staff Workers Union, Pattan Development Organisation, Ibrahim Textile Fibres Workers Union, Allied Powerloom Textile Workers Union and Lyallpur Domestic Workers Union.

The convention decided to form committees in localities to convince the Fesco consumers against paying inflated bills of July and offer resistance in case Fesco staff would remove their power meters or disconnect connections.

The convention urged the citizens to join the protest along with their families and be ready to stage a sit-in.

RAHIM YAR KHAN: Dozens of people of Mianwali Qureshian and adjoining rural areas held a demonstration against the government and the Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco) over their inflated electricity bills.

The protesters besieged the Mepco office at Mianwali Quershian, making the staff escape.

The Mepco consumers of Yousafabad, Sheikh Wahan, Blockiwali and Mao Mubarak blocked the National Highway at Mianwali Qureshian for several hours against the additional taxes and surcharges in the bills.

The protesters were holding the electricity bills in their hands, saying they were small consumers who used less units but Mepco had sent them bills of huge amounts.

They said they were poor farmers and daily wagers and how they would pay these inflated bills with unjust taxes and surcharges. Later, police arrived there and held negotiations with them to clear the road.

Published in Dawn, August 23rd, 2022

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