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August 22, 2019

SHC seeks KE comments as plea calls for action over electrocution deaths

Karachi

August 22, 2019

The Sindh High Court on Wednesday directed the K-Electric and others to file comments on a petition seeking action against the power utility for allegedly failing to maintain its installations, which, the petition said, caused deaths of more than 20 citizens in the recent monsoon rains in Karachi.

Petitioner Aamir Aziz submitted that over 20 persons, including children, had been electrocuted and lost their lives in the July 29 monsoon rains in the city due to the failure of the KE to maintain its electricity infrastructure in the rains.

He further stated that the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) did not take action against the KE for its failure to maintain its infrastructure as most parts of the city remained without electricity for several hours. He requested the court to direct Nepra to take action against the KE and direct it to pay compensation to the legal heirs of people who lost lives due to negligence of the KE.

The KE counsel filed power on the petition and requested time to file comments on the petition. A division bench headed by Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi directed the KE and others to file comments on the petition with three weeks and adjourned the matter.

JI files plea

Jamaat-e-Islami Karachi leader Hafiz Naeemur Rehman filed a petition in the SHC, seeking the registration of an FIR against the KE management over the deaths of citizens who lost their lives due to electrocution during the monsoon rains in the city.

The petitioner urged that an inquiry commission be constituted to probe the negligence of the KE, which failed to maintain its installations and electricity poles in the monsoon rains, resulting in the deaths of more than 40 persons, including children, due to electrocution in the city. He further asked the court to order the payment of compensation to the legal heirs of the victims.

11th FIR registered

Another FIR was registered against the K-Electric’s administration on Wednesday over the death of a minor boy by electrocution, following which the number of cases registered against the power utility in the recent days has climbed to 11.

The latest case was registered in connection with the death of 12-year-old Fahad Ahmed, son of Faisal Khan, who fell victim to electrocution on July 29 in the Jamshed Quarters police jurisdiction. FIR No. 310/19 under sections 322 and 268/34 of the Pakistan Penal Code was registered on the complaint of the victim’s father against KE officials and others.

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

According to the spokesman for the Sindh police, the operations AIG submitted a detailed report to police chief Dr Syed Kaleem Imam about the registered cases pertaining to electrocution deaths, which occurred during the two spells of monsoon rains that hit Karachi between July 29 and August 13.

According to the report, 13 people had lost their lives due to electrocution, while 10 FIRs had been registered at different police stations in the city.

Four of these 13 people died of electrocution in the South zone, three in the East zone and six in the West zone, and their cases were registered at the Darakhshan, Paposh Nagar, Taimuria, Shahrah-e-Noorjahan, Khawaja Ajmair Nagri, Gulbahar, SITE Superhighway and Baghdadi police stations, with two cases registered at the Malir City police station.

KE ‘deeply saddened’

Following a protest outside the head office of the K-Electric in Gizri on Wednesday by citizens over electrocution deaths during the recent monsoon rains, the K-Electric issued a statement saying it was deeply saddened by the tragic incidents which occurred during the recent torrential rain and sympathised with the affected families.

“KE is assessing these electrocution incidents and is fully cooperating in the investigation process with various stakeholders including NEPRA,” said the statement, which was issued hours after scores of people gathered outside the head office of the power utility in Gizri and protested over several electrocution deaths that occurred in the rains.

“The power utility reiterates that it remains committed to Karachi and will undertake all required remedial measures in light of the investigation results. KE will also be initiating an exercise to identify opportunities for infrastructure improvement so as to strengthen both reliability and safety of power supply.

“Preliminary findings indicate that internet and TV cables as well as signal boosting devices illegally installed on KE’s electricity poles were the underlying cause of the unfortunate incident that occurred in DHA.

“As a safety measure KE had suspended power supply to several submerged parts of DHA and power supply to the incident site was suspended as soon as KE was contacted.

In view of the safety hazard posed due to illegal use of KE’s infrastructure by Internet / TV cables, streetlight switches and “kundas”, which bypass safety protection mechanisms, the power utility is taking strict action against all such interferences from August 19, 2019 and has already issued a public notice in this regard.

“The power utility also requests various municipalities to support its efforts in combatting this public safety menace.”

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