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Power outages invite public wrath

July 31, 2012

TAXILA, July 30: Prolonged power outages in the midst of extreme heat and fasting forced masses to come to the streets in protests that later turned violent here on Monday.

Protests against loadshedding, especially during Sehr and Iftar, turned violent when enraged protesters fed up with massive electricity outages besieged Iesco offices in Taxila for over an hour and forced the officials to call local police to save them from becoming a victim of public wrath.

On this occasion, the angry mob chanted slogans against the federal government, water and power minister and the Iesco. Police reached the spot and avoided any damage to the Iesco offices and officials.

In another protest, people blocked inter provincial Taxila- Hattar Road for nearly an hour by burning tyres. In rural areas of Taxila and Wah Cantonment, residents were braving 18 to 20 hours of loadshedding that also led to shortage of water in the area.

Locals complained that about 120 small and cottage industries especially of stone carving in Taxila were facing closures as their administration was finding it hard to continue work due to chronic loadshedding, leaving more than 10,000 skilled, semi skilled and unskilled workers unemployed.

According to Wapda sources, the current wave of massive power outages was due to technical fault in Chashma power plants followed by damages to transmission lines by wind and storm