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Power protests leave four injured

July 24, 2012

ISLAMABAD, July 23: Power protests in rural area of the capital on Monday left four persons including a police official injured.

According to eye witnesses, the residents of Alipur Farash, annoyed by prolonged power outages, gathered at Lehtrar Road and blocked it for vehicular traffic by burning tyres.

They were chanting slogans against Iesco and the government for failing to fulfil their promise to ensure power supply at the time of Sehri and Iftar.

The road blockade led to worst traffic jams inviting police to use teargas to disperse them. Some police officials also resorted to firing in the air which was retaliated by the mob. A clash ensued in which a police official and three residents of the area were injured, eye witnesses said.

A resident of the area Saghir Chaudhry said: “Being rural area, Alipur is an easy prey for Iesco which disconnects the electricity of the area for hours. Why Iesco does not cut the supply of electricity to Diplomatic Enclave, residency and other adjacent areas,” he said.

Afzal Choudhry, another resident of the area, said the crowd was peaceful but police used tear gas and did firing in the air due to which mob went out of control.

Duty officer of Shahzad Town police, Mohammad Ali said that it was a routine protest and the police officials should not have used teargas and resorted to firing. He said that no one had been arrested.

Meanwhile, residents of Zia Masjid blocked the Islamabad Expressway and Faizabad Interchange in the evening. They claimed that they did not have electricity since 8am.

Meanwhile, the power shortfall in the country has crossed 4,300 megawatts due to rising demand for electricity, which was more than 18,000 MW on Monday, while the generation varied between 13,700 and 14,250 MW.

“We have been told that Chashma–II is back on line and it was gradually coming up, but the complete 335 MW will be available by late Monday night,” said an official of the ministry of water and power.

“Due to the rising temperatures the consumption of electricity has also gone up,” the officials said.

“We have been faced with too many problems at the same time,” the official said, adding that the government or the authorities were not responsible for lack of rainfall which has not only made the weather hot and humid but also dropped the hydel electricity generation.

Pakistan is currently producing 4,570 MW hydel electricity, against 5,500 MW generated during the same period last year.

The figures available from Wapda show that water level at the three main reservoirs, Tarbela, Mangla and Chashma has dropped by 66.15 per cent against the water available at these reservoirs last year.

There is a significant drop in water availability in Mangla dam, as on Monday 1.92 MAF water was present in Mangla which was 4.03 MAF on July 23 last year.

However water at Tarbela and Chashma has slightly increased against the last year, but the total water available in the country’s reservoirs is 4.11 MAF against 6.22 MAF last year.

“The most serious issue is that there are no signs of rain anywhere in the region and due to clouds over the western Himalayas the melting of glaciers has also slowed down,” said Wapda official.