KARACHI: A large number of commuters remained stuck for over six hours in a traffic mess in Clifton and adjoining localities on Monday as residents of P&T Colony and Gizri staged a sit-in outside the head office of the K-Electric in Defence Housing Authority against prolonged loadshedding.

Getting sick and tired of loadshedding and continuous power failures in the prevailing hot and humid weather, the residents took to the streets, chanting slogans against the lone power utility in the city and suspending vehicular traffic at Punjab Colony.

The traffic remained clogged for hours in almost every part of the DHA and Clifton as the traffic was diverted from the Clifton Underpass to Teen Talwar and from Punjab Colony to Saudi Consulate intersection.

The traffic was also diverted from Gizri to Sultan Masjid and Khayaban-i-Shamshir and from Punjab Colony to Boat Basin, which further aggravated the situation as thousands of cars crawled bumper to bumper at a snail’s pace.

The protesters said that frequent power outages had made their lives miserable as the K-Electric was carrying out unscheduled and extended loadshedding in the vicinity.

The traffic jam caused a great deal of hardship to people, especially those returning to their homes from offices and business places as they remained stuck for hours. Many motorists also ran short of the fuel in their vehicles due to hours-long massive traffic jam.

The traffic police said that the protesters had blocked the roads leading to the KE head office in Gizri at around 4pm, leading to traffic clogging in the DHA and neighbouring areas including Clifton.

They said that the protesters called off their protest and dispersed peacefully at 9pm after a series of negotiations with the area police.

Meanwhile, the power utility said in a statement that the defaulting KE consumers in the Upper Gizri and P&T Colony had total liabilities of over Rs560 million and the duration of loadshedding depended on the rate of power theft and losses in the area.

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2023

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