KARACHI June 27: While the city’s power supply situation worsened on Monday with the tripping of the nuclear power plant, the Karachi Electric Supply Company management continued to blame protesting workers for causing damage to the plant and law-enforcers for being “reluctant to act”.

The Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (Kanupp), which supplies 80 megawatts to the power utility, stopped working after repeated tripping of Baldia-Mauripur and Baldia-Kanupp circuits, said the KESC management while holding the ‘union miscreants’ for causing the failure.

However, KESC workers rejected the management charges, asked the government to take notice of the situation and demanded setting up of a judicial commission to fix the responsibility for the power crisis.

The KESC spokesperson said that staff reopened the utility’s head offices on Monday with “reluctant help of police personnel”.

It was after much persuasion that the police provided vans to escort the management employees into the head offices.

At some other spots, police did not even move when unionists attacked and injured employees and scared away consumers coming to lodge their complaints, the KESC spokesperson said.

The “union miscreants” allegedly caused tripping of Baldia-Mauripur circuit four times as no fault was found there, the official said.

Kanupp-Baldia circuits (No 1 and 2) were also caused to trip more than once. This frequent tripping of circuits linked to the nuclear power plant finally rendered Kanupp to trip and go offline. The KESC maintenance teams attended 29 locations of 220-KV Baldia-Mauripur circuit but the “union miscreants” intercepted them and forced them to stop work at gunpoint, the spokesperson of the power utility alleged.

The official also alleged that the “union miscreants” under a planned sabotage caused tripping of CCPP to KCR-2 circuit in Korangi, which rendered a gas turbine in the 220-combined cycle power plant out of work, and the 220kv KCR-Lalazar-2 circuit. The KESC said that the sabotage was aimed at prolonging the duration of power outages.

The management warned that the KESC would have no choice but to shut down its operations if it was forced to stop work through sheer use of muscle power and planned sabotage. In this scenario, the responsibility would lie on the government and its law-enforcement machinery, the management said.

However, KESC workers said the management was “staging” such acts through “unpopular elements posing as union workers”.

They asked the government to ask the management to provide the details of KESC’s power generation and electricity and fuel purchase from other sources on a daily basis.

Protest rally

The KESC workers’ solidarity committee staged a protest rally to reiterate its demand for setting up a high-powered judicial commission for fixing responsibility of persisting power crisis in Karachi.

The committee said that inefficiency and negligence of KESC management had caused electricity shortfall in the city.

The solidarity committee comprising various labour and trade unions with the support of civil society organisations staged a protest demonstration outside the Karachi Press Club for the restoration of services of over 4,000 KESC employees.

The workers said that it was a pity that they had been staging protests for last 50 days against anti-labour steps of the KESC management, which was adamant to continue without solving the problems of the workers, but no one at the helm of affairs had come to their rescue.

The labour leaders lamented the situation that KESC management in order to illegally pressurise the protesting workers had stopped their salary for two months and dismissed over 300 KESC workers.

They condemned the recent termination of service of KESC Labour Union chairman Mohammad Akhlaq Khan.

They said that a written agreement signed at the time of KESC privatisation had been violated by the management but the government was not taking due notice of such anti-people stance of the management.

They urged the government to play its due role and use its authority for resolving issues between KESC management and workers through talks.

Fareed Awan, Habib Junaidi, Liaquat Sahi, Manzoor Razi, Noor Mohammad, Saeed Baloch, Asad Butt, Sheikh Majeed, Lateef Mughal, Aslam Samoo, Ayub Qureshi, Raheel Iqbal and Shaukat Iqbal spoke.

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