Anti-riot police had to be called in after enraged residents of Akhtar Colony, Manzoor Colony, Defence View and Qayyumabad took to the streets on Tuesday to protest against the acute water shortage and prolonged power outages in their localities.
The exasperated youth pelted vehicles on Korangi Road and the Qayyumabad Roundabout with stones, which resulted in a severe traffic jam in the adjoining arteries. They chanted slogans against the KWSB and the KESC, burnt tyres, damaged electricity poles, sign boards and broke street lights in the area.
Arshad Zaman, a Defence View resident, claimed that people in his locality were “dying” for water, but despite complaints, the water board authorities did not seem to be interested in their woes. “People cannot live without water for a single day, and here we are without it for the past two weeks.”
He said many people were compelled to pay hefty sums to the tanker mafia to acquire limited quantities of water. “Most families cannot even afford to buy water in poor localities.”The water woes were multiplied in many areas of the city after KESC resorted to power outages at the Dhabeji pumping station of the KWSB.
One of the protesters said, “Taking to the streets is the only way to resolve your problems in this city, as the authorities would not lend an ear otherwise.” In order to disperse the crowd and bring the chaotic situation under control, the anti-riot police took charge and resorted to aerial firing and tear-gas shelling.
Meanwhile, a KWSB spokesman claimed that the tussle between the KESC and the water utility had been resolved, and hoped that the people would start receiving water as per the previous schedule.
On the other hand, a KESC representative said a grid station in the Qayyumabad area had developed some fault, but claimed that a repair team had fixed it and electricity was restored within no time.
“Suspension of electricity due to some technical fault does not mean that people should start protesting on the roads, and especially if the problem is fixed without delay.”Later in the night, residents of Nazimabad No 7 Jillani Manzil also protested against power and water shortage by burning tyres on the main Nawab Siddique Ali Khan Road.They chanted slogans and demanded that authorities ensure uninterrupted provision of power and water in their area.