• In unanimous resolution, lawmakers ask KE, Hesco and Sepco to reduce loadshedding in Sindh
• Ghani says FIR should be registered against KE if anyone dies during heatwave
• Surrender or face severe consequences, home minister warns riverine area gangs

KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Tuesday demanded that the federal government immediately take stern action against three power supply companies in Sindh — the K-Electric, Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco) and Sukkur Electric Power Company (Sepco) — for making people’s life miserable by their unannounced and prolonged loadshedding in every part of the province.

The house unanimously adopted a resolution against KE, Hesco and Sepco, urging the power utilities to improve their performance and reduce the timings of loadshedding in Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Larkana and Shaheed Benazirabad divisions.

Pakistan Peoples Party’s Heer Soho had initially submitted a resolution for direction to Hesco to improve its performance and reduce the duration of loadshedding in the three divisions it served in the province.

However, she requested Speaker Syed Awais Qadir Shah for amending the resolution and after being allowed by the chair she added KE and Karachi in it.

The amendment to the treasury member’s resolution was clearly made to make an opposition member’s resolution infructuous, which exclusively was regarding the prolonged loadshedding being carried out by the KE, the sole power utility in the metropolis.

The lone member of Jamaat-i-Islami, Muhammad Farooq, had submitted the resolution against the KE demanding from the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority to take prompt notice of prolonged loadshedding in the city and take action against the power utility.

During the proceedings, Sabir Qaimkhani of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) stood to persuade the chair to club the JI’s resolution with the treasury member’s resolution, but he was told by Deputy Speaker Anthony Naveed that a resolution on the matter was already under discussion and another resolution on the same topic could not be taken up under the assembly rules.

The JI member pointed out that the resolution on the agenda of assembly business pertained to only Hesco and it was amended during the speech of the mover. Having been left with no choice, the dismayed JI member agreed to speak on the treasury member’s amended resolution and came down heavily on the KE.

Terming the unannounced prolonged loadshedding and excessive billing as “energy terrorism” by the KE, he said that there was an increase of 35 per cent in consumers since the privatisation of the KESC 18 years ago, while the electricity generation was decreased by 19 per cent by the KE.

Mr Farooq demanded that the federal government be cancelled the licence of the KE. He also urged the provincial government to officially take up the issue of unjustified loadshedding and excessive billing by the KE with the federal government.

Senior Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon said that the KE, Sepco and Hesco had become the most incompetent institutions in the country.

‘Collective punishment system’

Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani said that KE had implemented a “collective punishment” system in Karachi. “If a few people steal electricity, the whole area is punished,” he added.

He said that the prolonged loadshedding also led to acute shortage of water in the city. He said if a person died due to heatwave, the FIR should be registered against the power utility.

Mr Ghani said that the KE management would realise the ordeal of people if they were confined to their offices for 10 hours without electricity.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-backed Sunni Ittehad Council member Shabir Qureshi, MQM-P’s Rashid Khan, PPP’s Farooq Awan also spoke.

Warning issued to riverine dacoits

Home Minister Zia Lanjar warned the dacoits in the riverine belt to surrender immediately or be ready to face severe consequences.

Replying to lawmakers queries in Question Hour, he said that the provincial government would not compromise on law and order issue, which he claimed was now improving.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2024

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