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August 20, 2019

13 people died of electrocution, 10 cases registered in Karachi, says police report


August 20, 2019

At least 13 people were electrocuted to death and 10 cases registered in Karachi during the two recent spells of monsoon rains, a police report said on Monday.

According to the Sindh police spokesperson, the AIG operations submitted the detailed report to Inspector General of Police Dr Syed Kaleem Imam about the case registered pertaining to electrocution deaths which occurred in two spells of monsoon rain, which hit Karachi from July 29 to August 13.

According to the report, 13 people lost their lives due to electrocution while 10 FIRs were registered at different police stations. Among these 13 people, four people died of electrocution in Zone South, three in Zone East and six in Zone West, and their cases were registered at different police stations, including Darakhshan, Paposh Nagar, Taimuria, Sharae Noor Jahan, Khawaja Ajmair Nagri, Gulbahar, SITe Superhighway and Baghdadi police stations, and two cases were registered at the Malir City police station.

What KE is saying

As per the initial findings of investigations, the majority of the incidents either occurred inside homes or due to non-KE infrastructure such as kundas, TV/Internet cables/devices illegally installed on KE poles and hanging lights, etc, the power utility said in a statement.

It said: “KE is extending full cooperation in the investigation process with various stakeholders including NEPRA. The power utility reiterates that it remains committed to Karachi and will undertake required remedial measures in light of the investigation results.

“At the same time, KE will also be undertaking an exercise to identify opportunities for infrastructure improvement so as to strengthen both reliability and safety of power supply.”

The power utility added: “In view of the potential hazard posed due to illegal use of KE's infrastructure by Internet/TV cables, streetlight switches and “kundas”, as per initial findings of ongoing investigations, the power utility will be taking strict action against all such interferences and has already issued a public notice in this regard.

“Non-KE wires on power distribution infrastructure such as kundas, streetlights, TV, telephone, or Internet cables are a major safety hazard as they damage KE’s infrastructure and bypass safety protection mechanisms. The power utility also requests various municipalities to support its efforts in combating this public safety menace.”

According to the statement, all these external factors, which also come under the purview of different civil service entities in Karachi, have a significant effect on the power utility’s ability to ensure provision of safe and reliable electricity to its customers.

“It is extremely unfair that some quarters have without any substance started blaming one particular organisation for these unfortunate incidents which have mainly happened inside house or due to non-KE network and occurred during urban flooding in Karachi which the weak civic infrastructure was unable to handle. “It is important to note that KE has one of the lowest incident ratios amongst DISCOs operating in Pakistan and as per NEPRAs last State of Industry Report issued for 2018, KE has the third lowest number of incidents. KE for long has been engaging with all concerned stakeholders so that they recognize their due role to provide an enabling environment for the power utility to operate by enforcing basic urban development protocols in a planned manner across the city and again pleads to them to step up to eliminate the issue of encroachments, kundas, unwarranted use of KE’s infrastructure and water-logging around power infrastructure during and after rain.

“KE remains committed to its goal of providing safe and reliable supply of power to its customers and look forward to work with all key stakeholders in achieving the same.”

JDC plans protest

The Jafaria Disaster Management Cell’s (JDC) chief, Zafar Abbas, announced the launch of a protest against the K-Electric (KE) at Numaish Chowrangi next week.

Addressing a press conference on Monday at Karachi Press Club (KPC), along with his lawyers, he alleged that dozens of people have lost their lives due to the power utility. Several FIRs, he said, had been lodged against the KE’s CEO. No one in the city, he said, had been making efforts to arrest the KE’s CEO.

The Sindh government, he alleged, was hands in glove with the KE. He said that they would hang effigies of people who died due to electrocution on KE’s poles. “As many as 67 people up till now have lost their lives due to the KE.”

He added that only 15 FIRs had been lodged, and police and other officials were putting pressure so as to put the FIRs in C category.

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