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Karachi

June 25, 2016

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With no power and water, frustration of fasting citizens of Martin Quarters boils over

Karachi

With no electricity and water in their homes for the past 27 hours, residents of Martin Quarters and adjacent areas ran out of patience on Friday afternoon.

As soon as the death of a 34-year-old woman, Tasneem Yousuf, was reported from House No C-115, Dak Khana in Nafisabad area, people from neighbouring localities falling under the PS-117 constituency blocked the road between PIB Colony and Teen Hatti flyover.

“She was fine but then her condition deteriorated as the heat grew worse since Thursday morning,” her brother Mohammad Ayub told The News.

Setting tires and pieces of wood ablaze, fasting protestors seemed to be at fire themselves too.

Many children also shouted along with their elders, including men and women, slogans against the K-Electric.

“The K-Electric has made our lives hell. We don’t have any water to consume in our homes. Children are crying, elders are enduring severe pain, but there is nobody to even tell us what’s the real problem is,” said a protesting lady while talking to The News at around 1pm.

“We are tortured everyday with ‘announced’ power outages of seven-and-a-half hours. On top of that we also have to face unannounced power cuts,” said another angry protestor, Nasir. “The KE has no mercy for us. Even in the month of fasting, what has been changed is only the schedule of power cuts, not the duration. The time span of load shedding is the same as before.” Protestors claimed that the K-Electric’s complaint centre wasn’t sharing with them the real problem due to which they had been without electricity for more than a day.

They are only “playing delaying tactics”, they said. “Their customer care service is merely a sham. They are only engaging us to buy more time,” added Nasir.

The newly elected MPA of PS117, Qamar Abbas Rizvi, was also clueless about the problem till the wee hours of the Tuesday morning.

“I have been constantly trying to contact officials of the K-Electric but nobody listened to me the whole day,” he claimed.

The MPA said he received a text message from the general manager of K-Electric at about 4am on Friday morning, who told him that the power outage was due to the tripping of a cable at the Lyari Expressway.

“He [the GM] told me that he was under pressure due to the cable fault. I requested him to at least share information with me so people of the area could be informed about the real problem,” said Abbas.

When The News contacted the officials of the K-Electric, a press statement was released at around 2pm on Friday stating that power supply to Jehangir Road and adjoining areas was affected due to a cable fault as a consequence of cleaning a storm water drain as part of monsoon preparation by the local government. “The K-Electric teams rushed to the spot and have been working tirelessly round the clock to restore power. Electricity supply was restored to more than 80 percent of the area by back-feeding of the affected feeders. Our teams are working on repairing the remaining areas,” read the statement issued after more than a day of power outage.

Meanwhile, supply to Jamshed Road and its adjacent areas was restored on Thursday around 3pm, after around nine hours. However, power supply to other affected areas including Clayton Quarters, Jehangir Road, Martin Quarters, Usmania Mohajir Colony, Pakistan Quarters and Patel Para was restored after 29 hours at around 3pm on Friday.

The power utility also apologised to the consumers of Jehangir road and adjoining areas for the “inconvenience” caused and urged residents to remain calm and cooperate with its teams working on the ground.

However, only when power supply was restored in the area, protestors went back to their homes.

“We are not getting free electricity. It was a terrible day with no electricity and water. The fasting citizens are cursing the power utility by their hearts,” an elderly protestor, Iqbal Husain, said in anguish.

During the 29-hour prolonged power outage, the Central Jail Karachi also remained without electricity.

 

Over billing, power outages

Areas that fall under PS117, including PIB Colony, Aminabad, Clayton Quarters, Jamshed Quarters, Jehangir Road, Martin Quarters, Usmania Mohajir Colony, Pakistan Quarters, Islam Nagar, People’s Colony, Mohammadi Colony, Mustafa Colony and Patel Para are subjected to regular power cuts, around seven-and-a-half hours long.

For the newly elected MPA of PS117, the attitude of the power utility is “disgusting” and the power utility was subjecting all its consumers to torture only for the fault of a handful illegal connections.

“As an MPA, I am ready to extend my full support to the power utility to remove these illegal connections. The KE officials should come forward if they are serious to exempt my constituency from power outages.”

Qamar Abbas Rizvi also said he would soon hold meetings to sort out the problem of extended power cuts, due to which his voters and supporters were suffering a lot.

“As per my survey, around 80 percent of residents are paying bills. The K-Electric has also installed new cables in many areas of the constituency after which it’s highly unlikely to put illegal connections. But the power utility hasn’t yet reduced the duration of power outages.”

The MPA also said there were many small quarters in areas of Martin Quarters, Clayton Quarters, Jamshed Quarters and Jehangir Road, but the power utility continued to send inflated bills due to average billing.

“We can only address logical arguments of the K-Electric about some illegal connections in the constituency. However, the power utility should also revisit its attitude of subjecting consumers with over billing and average billing in the constituency,” he said.

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