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April 18, 2018

Mayor leads LG representatives in protest against power outages


April 18, 2018

Mayor Wasim Akhtar on Tuesday led a demonstration staged by elected representatives of local governments, and questioned if the government wanted the people of Karachi to stop paying taxes and start a civil disobedience.

The protest was held outside the K-Electric (KE) head office in Gizri. It was attended by a large number of local government representatives against loadshedding in the city.

Akhtar said the citizens of Karachi were paying the price for the ongoing tussle between the KE and the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC), saying that at least 200 mmcfd of gas was needed to be supplied to the KE to resolve power crisis, but the issue was not being given any attention.

He said that beside residential areas, hospitals too were facing persistent loadshedding. He appealed to the president of Pakistan to resolve the conflict between the two utilities as soon as possible for the provision of the required volume of gas to the power supplier of the city.

He said the local government representatives had proved their responsibility by joining the protest. The demonstrators were holding placards and banners urging K-Electric to stop persisting outages and “overbilling” in Karachi. Protesters also demanded an immediate stop to the suspension of the power supply for longer durations throughout the day.

Akhtar said that so far they had not asked people who voted for them to come there in this acute weather, but someone had to do something for the city. Later, the mayor led the protesters into the K-Electric head office and talked to Chief Marketing Officer Syed Fakhar Alam, Director Distribution Arshad Iftikhar, Director Media Sadia Dada, Director Rashid Hussain, Deputy Director Protocol Faisal Jahangir and HR head Rizwan Dalia about the issue.

After coming out of the office, the mayor spoke to media representatives and said they had told K-Electric that many of the issues could be resolved on district level also; therefore; serious efforts and measures should be taken in this connection.

He said they were peaceful citizens and their only aim was to provide relief to the people of Karachi, who were suffering due to the situation. He added K-Electric must overcome the crisis or the people would be compelled to come to the streets to protest.

The mayor said Karachi was the economic hub of the country, but the government was not paying attention to its issues. Different political parties asked for votes but they did not raise any voice for the citizens, he claimed.

When it came to Karachi, provincial government funds were always unavailable, he said, adding that all of Karachi’s projects were incomplete, including K-IV, S-III and bus rapid transport projects. “Injustice with Karachi must stop now.”

He said that K-Electric, SSGC, KW&SB or any other organisation must take the protest seriously, and these issues must be resolved without any further delay. K-Electric has been blaming the crisis on the SSGC, saying that the latter has reduced the supply of gas to its gas-fired power plants. The SSGC says it has yet to receive billions in dues from the power utility.

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