• Residents take to streets in protest against electricity disconnection, prolonged loadshedding
• Blockade of many thoroughfares leads to multiple traffic jams in city
• KE says power supply in Lines Area was suspended due to non-payment of Rs2bn dues

Lines Area lies in total darkness on Saturday night after power supply to the locality was cut off by the KE on the previous day. (Right) Residents of the congested locality sit on a pedestrian bridge to find some relief from the sizzling weather. —Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
Lines Area lies in total darkness on Saturday night after power supply to the locality was cut off by the KE on the previous day. (Right) Residents of the congested locality sit on a pedestrian bridge to find some relief from the sizzling weather. —Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: Protests against disconnection of electricity and loadshedding were held in different parts of the city and residents of Lines Area and its neighbourhoods on Saturday continued their protest for the second consecutive day, taking to the streets and erecting barricades.

The protest against the K-Electric had started on Friday morning when the power utility disconnected supply to one of the most densely populated area of the city.

The protesters continued to set old tyres on fire and erect barricades on the streets that led to a severe traffic jam on Preedy Street, commonly known as Signal-Free Corridor 3.

Separately, residents of Landhi No. 4 also took to the streets in protest against unannounced and prolonged disruption of power supply to their area. The protesters blocked the main road and the traffic police diverted the traffic to alternative routes.

Meanwhile, people from several other localities also complained against prolonged loadshedding.

Dozens of residents of Hijrat Colony and adjoining Sultanabad off the Moulvi Tamizuddin Road also gathered near the PIDC Bridge and chanted slogans against the KE for hours-long loadshedding.

The police and administration dispersed the protesters from the Preedy Street after hours of protest. However, many protesters marched through the lanes and streets leading to Sharea Faisal, one of the major city’s arteries, where traffic was also choked with hundreds of vehicles moving bumper-to-bumper at a snail’s pace for more than an hour.

The protesters blocked both the sides of the Preedy Street for hours, chanting slogans against the power utility for suspending power supply to their area.

The blockade of the Preedy Street also impacted the M. A Jinnah Road as the traffic remained clogged at Guru Mandir, Jamshed Road, Jahangir Road and Business Recorder Road. Worst-hit were the commuters coming from and going to district Central.

The protesters said that most of the residents of the Lines Area and its adjoining localities duly paid their electricity bill. They said there might be some residents who had not made payment of their respective electricity dues, but the whole vicinity was being punished for that.

Meanwhile, Saddar SHO Chaudhry Zahid Husain said that the police persuaded the residents to end their protest peacefully on Friday and on Saturday as well.

He said that on Saturday, he visited the office of KE where the staff informed him that they would rectify the power problem in the evening. The SHO said that since the residents did not come out on road again, it appeared that their grievance had been addressed.

But the power supply was not restored to parts of the Lines Area till late, residents said.

The KE in a statement said that over Rs2 billion were outstanding against the residents of Lines Area. It asked the residents to clear their dues if they wanted restoration of power supply to the vicinity.

The power utility said that no loadshedding was being carried out in Lines Area and the electricity supply was suspended only due to non-payment of outstanding dues.

The KE said that the maximum duration of the loadshedding in parts of the city was 10 hours. It said that the duration of loadshedding depended on the ratio of power theft and line losses of the vicinity.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2024

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