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Power outages spark protests in Peshawar, Kohat areas

July 29, 2012


PESHAWAR/KOHAT, July 28: Hundreds of residents of Landi Arbab and surrounding areas here blocked the main Kohat Road after taraveeh prayers late on Friday to protest against excessive power outages. Residents of Gulberg briefly blocked Sher Shah Suri Road near Sunehri Masjid, while hundreds of consumers blocked Indus Highway in Lachi tehsil of Kohat against excessive loadshedding on Saturday.

In Peshawar, the protest rally started from Manakrao, Landi Arbab, and moved towards Tanga Adda where hundreds of people from Omeedabad, Swati Phatak, Garhi Malik Ahmad, Yousafabad, Rehanabad, Qazikhel, Garhi Loharan, Haiderzai, Gulabkhana, Fateh Khankhel and Amin Colony joined it.

The protesters led by local elders, including Arbab Nisar, Asifullah Qasmi, Ashfaq Ahmad, Aqeel Khan and Safirullah, were chanting slogans against the Peshawar Electric Supply Company, the coalition government and elected representatives for excessive power outages.

The protestors came out on main Kohat Road and blocked it to traffic and pelted stones on Kohat road grid station building. The Pesco staff left the grid station and fled from the mob.

Some of the grid officials who joined the protesters told them that they had been directed by the Pesco authorities to go for maximum loadshedding in Landi Arbab and surrounding areas so that rest of the city area could be provided relief. The protesters said that the billing ratio of Landi Arbab was far better than all suburban towns of Peshawar, but still the Pesco had kept them in rural areas.

Speaking to the protesters, elders of the area strongly criticised the Pesco for 14-16 hours daily loadshedding. They said that the coalition government, including the Awami National Party, had failed to keep its promise of not carrying out loadshedding during sehr and iftar timings. The residents also condemned their elected representatives – ANP MPA Syed Aqil Shah and PPP MNA Arbab Alamgir – saying that they should take time out to solve problems of their constituency. They also alleged that their elected representatives were involved in corruption, taking commissions from patwaris, contractors and sanitation staffers.

The protesters asked Pesco chief executive and chief engineer to look into the matter and stop unscheduled loadshedding in Landi Arbab and surrounding areas.

Later, DSP Tariq Habib arranged a meeting of the elders with the Pesco sub-division officer (SDO), Landi Arbab, and grid station SDO, at his office.  The elders asked the officials to immediately remove the Shaikh Mohammadi area from Landi Arbab feeder, and reduce loadshedding. The officials assured them of taking solid steps to overcome the problem.

Meanwhile, residents of Gulberg briefly blocked Sher Shah Suri Road near Sunehri Masjid on Saturday to protest against the Pesco for its failure to repair power transformers.

Consumers belonging to Al-Noor Street, Izat Khan Chowk and Chambapir Road blocked the main road for traffic for sometime.

They said that transformers of their streets had been out of order for past over one week. They alleged that the Pesco staff was reluctant to repair transformers without payment of bribe.

They said that people were compelled to pay bribes for repair of transformers to the corrupt Pesco officials. They said that due unavailability electricity these areas had also been facing water shortage.

They urged the government to ask the Pesco for immediate installation of transformers in the affected areas.

In Kohat, hundreds of Pesco consumers blocked Indus Highway against excessive loadshedding in Lachi tehsil on Saturday.

The protesters demanded an immediate end to loadshedding. District officer revenue and police officers brought former MNA Ibrar Sultan and other elders on whose request the protesters opened the road. They dispersed peacefully after two hours, but said they would not tolerate inhuman power outages.