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Scuffles break out over ice shortage in Karak

July 31, 2012

KARAK, July 30: Several people were injured during a scuffle on Monday when vendors ran short of ice in the Hameedan area of Takht-i-Nusrati tehsil of Karak district.

Police said people thronged ice outlets and scuffled with each other after finding ice in short supply due to excessive loadshedding.

They said people got bruises and minor cuts during the scuffle.

According to police, they tried to calm people but in vain as people came onto a nearby road and blocked it over ice shortage.

The situation forced them into baton charging protesters, who later dispersed.

In Swabi, too, ice shortage has been reported.

Vendors said ice production at factories had tangibly declined due to frequent loadshedding.

They said many ice factories in the district had stopped operations for two days.

People said ice price had surged since the arrival of Ramazan.

They said 120kg ice block was sold at Rs480 before Ramazan but the price had jumped to Rs2,000 since the start of the fasting month.

Mostly, ice shortage is reported in Shewa Adda, Yar Hussain, Shewa Adda, Chota Lahor, Karnal Sher Kili and Topi areas.

Vendors told Dawn that demand for ice increased many times in Ramazan.

“We have never seen such a rush for ice. We’re unable to meet demand, especially when electric supply remains suspended for long hours,” said Haji Said Qayyum.

He said he booked a large number of orders for ice everyday but failed to deliver them all.

Also in the day, people scuffled in Swabi Adda area over ice.

A few policemen, who were around, didn’t step in, according to Naveed Khan, a local resident.

“It really surprised me to see policemen act as mere spectator,” he said.

Mr Naveed said ice was in short supply due to excessive loadshedding and therefore, people fought for it at shops.

“Neither refrigerators are working properly due to excessive loadshedding nor are ice factories able to meet demand and therefore, people are in distress in hot weather,” he said.

People said unannounced loadshedding had caused ice shortage in the district.

Ahmad Ali of Maneri area asked if electric supply remained suspended for long hours, then how ice factories and refrigerators could function properly.

Meanwhile, there are also reports of water shortage due to power cuts in many areas of Swabi district.

People said water pumps and tube wells run on electricity remained out of use most of the time in the day due to frequent power breakdowns.