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Wednesday July 17, 2024

Ghani accuses KE of following collective punishment regime of colonial era

By Our Correspondent
May 26, 2024
In this still, Sindh Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani talks to media persons at the offices of the Korangi Association of Trade & Industry (KATI) on May 25, 2024. — Facebook/Saeed Ghani
In this still, Sindh Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani talks to media persons at the offices of the Korangi Association of Trade & Industry (KATI) on May 25, 2024. — Facebook/Saeed Ghani

The colonial-era collective punishment regime once imposed in the defunct federally administered tribal areas in Pakistan is now being practised by the K-Electric (KE) for dealing with the power consumers of Karachi.

Sindh Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani made this remark on Saturday while talking to media persons and interacting with concerned businessmen and industrialists at the offices of the Korangi Association of Trade & Industry (KATI).

He lamented that the KE did not have any system to specifically penalise a power consumer involved in the pilferage of electricity or the one who had defaulted on power bills. Instead, the private power utility resorted to disconnecting the electric supply to an entire neighbourhood where such erring power consumers lived, he said.

Ghani urged the KE not to consider it just an issue related to their commercial operations in the city, rather it should recognise the human sufferings caused by its actions.

The local government minister was of the view that the KE was under an obligation to build a system to target only the dishonest and erring power consumers in the provincial capital. He said the power consumers who honestly paid their power bills without any default should get uninterrupted electric supply round the clock.

He conceded that the electricity problems prevailing in Karachi was beyond the control of the provincial authorities, and remarked that the policies of the KE were beyond the Sindh government’s comprehension.

Ghani, however, stated that it was quite understandable that a public utility could not spend money out of its kitty to provide electricity to all consumers but it should ensure power supply to those who paid their bills regularly and were not involved in power theft.

He said the Karachi Water and Sewerage Improvement Programme was being executed at a cost of $1.6 billion to overcome water supply and sewage problems in Karachi to a large extent. The first phase of the programme was about to be completed, he added.

He said that another project was also being constructed to increase water supply from the Hub Dam to Karachi to 150 million gallons per day (MGD), as the city was currently receiving merely 70MGD water from the water reservoir in Balochistan.

He said that the Malir Expressway was one of the largest infrastructure projects being constructed in Karachi and industrialists associated with the KATI would be beneficiaries of the project.

Ghani assured the audience that the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) government in Sindh would carry out development works in the city without any discrimination.

‘No tariff increase’

Karachi Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Interim Emir Munim Zafar has said the JI would not tolerate the anti-Karachi policies by the KE and warned the government and National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) against any rise in tariff.

In a statement issued, he took exception to frequent load-shedding in different parts of the city, and said the KE would have to put its house in order.

Zafar criticised the KE CEO for his remarks that the JI was an enemy of the KE. The JI had been struggling for the rights of the people of Karachi and would continue to do so, he maintained.

He accused the power utility of overcharging and using flawed meters. The KE was a defaulter as it had failed to pay Rs177 billion to the Sui Southern Gas Company and tens of billions to the people of Karachi collected under the head of claw back, Zafar maintained. The JI leader demanded that the government and Nepra reject the KE's demand for increasing the tariff by Rs10.69.