PTI Power-Up Grids against the Schedule
PESHAWAR: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on Monday afternoon took the law in their hands and banished PESCO staff from the Industrial Grid Station on Kohat Road turning on electricity supply to all the feeders.
Gathering in front of Hazar Khwani Grid Station on Ring Road, Industrial Grid Station on Kohat Road and Tajabad Grid Station on Monday morning, the PTI workers protested against hours-long power outages.
Before converging on Industrial Grid Station, party workers criticised prolonged power failures, saying there was no shortage of electricity in the country. They believed such outages were a ploy by the federal government to unsettle people living in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
A group of around 50 people started a sit-in outside Hazar Khwani Grid Station, while another 70 or so gathered at Industrial Grid Station. Similarly, around 50 workers were at the Tajabad grid.
The demonstrators chanted slogans and demanded that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz-led federal government end “unscheduled and unnecessary outages” which are causing immense difficulties for the people. The PTI workers accused the Centre of trying to unsettle residents of K-P because they voted for PTI in the 2013 general elections instead of PML-N. They said power outages lasted up to 18 hours in some areas supplied by these grids.
A large number of policemen were deployed to ensure that no untoward incident took place.
Powering the Grid
At around 3pm, PTI MPA Fazal-e-Ilahi joined the protest at Industrial Grid Station. When he found out that some feeders had been shut down, Ilahi and other PTI workers forced Pesco officials out of the grid station and restored supply to all of them. The police seemingly decided to steer clear of the matter and did not interfere with these actions.
Talking to the media, Ilahi said the elderly, women, children and even students faced tremendous hardships due to power outages. He said the people were no longer willing to tolerate unscheduled and prolonged failures. Protesters dispersed later, however, with an announcement to return on Tuesday.
Pesco staffers, meanwhile, said they are the ones who have to incur the ire of the general public. Officials said they are not the decision makers and any form of load-shedding is decided by senior figures in Lahore.
Requesting anonymity, an official of the utility said they turned to the government for security, but were left with no option but to remain silent if the ruling party itself was involved in such actions.
When contacted, Pesco Public Relations Director General Shaukat Afzal refused to comment on the situation. Meanwhile, an official familiar with the matter said the feeders are operated by technical experts who conduct specified load-shedding. He said a sudden increase in the load could destroy feeders and transformers.
This is not the first time PTI MPA Fazal-e-Ilahi has locked horns with the power utility.
In May 2014, he led a rally which concluded outside Wapda House on Shami Road. The demonstration against power outages turned into a public meeting where Fazal reiterated his demand to install meters. “If there is power theft in my area, why is Pesco not installing meters?” he had asked.
In April 2014, he vowed not to allow any Pesco officials to enter his constituency until they fulfilled their promise of installing meters in all homes. At the time, Pesco claimed Ilahi and his security detail attacked officials of the utility while they were doing some routine work in his area.
In August 2013, Elahi was again at the forefront of protests on Saddar Road against Pesco and Sui Northern Gas Private Limited for allegedly overbilling customers.
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