KARACHI, May 17: Riots against prolonged power loadshedding and unannounced outages erupted across the city on Tuesday causing traffic jams at important intersections as the KESC management and protesting workers remained unconcerned about public woes.
Massive traffic jams were witnessed in Lasbela and Nazimabad as people of the affected areas took to the streets, set up roadblocks and burnt tyres.
A similar situation was witnessed on the road linking Banaras to the Secondary School Board office, where angry residents blocked the road and burnt tyres.
Residents of Moladad Village near the Trans-Lyari Park in Old Golimar complained that the KESC management was not repairing their damaged PMT because of which they were facing great difficulties in scorching heat.
Power-related protests were also held in Saddar, Garden, Kharadar, Jacob Line, North Nazimabad, Malir, Korangi and Gulistan-i-Jauhar.
A KESC consumer from Parsi Colony complained of massive fluctuations in power supply which damaged electronic gadgets. She said '118', the helpline, was playing a recorded message expressing the management's inability to rectify faults because of alleged threats by protesting workers.
She asked the Sindh High Court to take suo motu notice of the situation and compel both parties to moderate their stances for the sake of the people.
Residents of many areas, including Clifton and the Defence Housing Society, complained that KESC employees posing as private electricians were fixing faults after charging money. They told consumers to arrange a ladder and other things to enable them to fix the fault as they could not bring KESC vehicles for fear of being “attacked”.
A KESC spokesperson claimed that more than rectifying local faults, the utility had to first remove the manually caused faults across the city allegedly by the CBA union's supporters during the past around 10 days. All those defects did not exist before that, the spokesperson claimed, alleging that hooligans damaged six crane-fitted vehicles parked at KESC offices in the Badar Commercial Market, DHA-V Extension. Similar incidents were also reported in Baldia Town and Korangi.
The KESC demanded that the government ensure protection of the KESC's assets and employees according to the orders of the Sindh High Court as well as in the best interest of the power consumers of Karachi.
Meanwhile, representatives of the protesting employees said they were not behind the violent incidents and alleged that they were being done by the management through its “third party hoodlums” to discredit the workers who were eager to work and restore power supply. But the management was adamant on not letting them work.
They said the workers wanted a categorical assurance against retrenchment and for the acceptance of their right to work and also withdrawal of cases against workers. They also claimed that the management was trying to blackmail the workers and the government by its rigid stand.
Meanwhile, the KESC dismissed an employee and charge sheeted and suspended 15 other employees on Tuesday for allegedly damaging the electric supply system. The Airport police station registered an FIR against two union activists for manhandling KESC employees, display of weapons and damaging KESC assets. Another FIR was registered against a worker from the Korangi Industrial Area on the same charges.