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August 5, 2020

Prolonged power cuts trigger protests in Peshawar

Peshawar

August 5, 2020

PESHAWAR: Fed up with hours-long unscheduled power outages, people in different localities of the provincial capital continued to take to streets and blocked some main highways to press the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) to stop the outages, but to no avail.

A big protest demonstration was arranged on the main Charsadda Road and the road was blocked for several hours for all kinds of traffic. Despite efforts by the authorities, the road could not be reopened to traffic. A severe traffic jam was seen on the road. The people were demanding uninterrupted supply of electricity. The protestors said that the hours-long loadshedding has made life miserable for them.

The Pesco authorities were not even listening to their complaints, they added. Asif Iqbal Daudzai, a former minister and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) leader from the area, told The News that scheduled loadshedding in the area was 12 hours. “We have one hour cut in supply of electricity after each hour. But the hour in which the electricity supply is supposed to be ensured, it is interrupted frequently on different pretexts,” he said. The worst situation, he said, was observed during and after the Eidul Azha. He said that whenever they lodged a complaint with the Pesco authorities, they were told that the power supply was suspended due to some fault. “These perpetual faults have made our life miserable,” he remarked.

He said that the people of different constituencies have planned protests on different days and the series would continue till the issue is resolved.

The JUI leader said that they have convened a meeting of all the leaders of different parties and public representatives and they would soon stage a big demonstration outside Pesco headquarters. The people of Achini and surrounding localities blocked the Ring Road for several hours, causing a severe traffic jam. The road blockade started at around 9am and continued till 1pm. Police authorities and officials from the district administration tried to convince the protestors to open the road for traffic, but they continued to block the road for hours despite the scorching heat.

The people of different areas on the Kohat Road had blocked the main Indus Highways for several hours the other day, demanding uninterrupted supply of electricity. The road had been blocked near Syphon Chowk, causing the worst traffic Jam. Long queues of vehicles were seen on the highway. Reached for comments, Member Provincial Assembly from the area Fazle Elahi Khan claimed that the loadshedding issue had been resolved due to his efforts. The opposition party members were creating problems for no reason, he added. He claimed that he got three feeders approved for the area namely Musazai feeder, Kagawala/Bazidkhel feeder and Akhundabad feeder and the problem has been permanently resolved for at least 30 years.

However, the situation on the ground is totally different for what the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf legislator claimed. According to the residents, eight-hour power outages are observed in areas near Ring Road and Kohat Road, in Landi Arbab it is over 10 hours, in Badaber, the duration of loadshedding is more than 14 hours, while in Zangali and its surrounding areas the loadshedding duration is 20 hours. “Electricity is supplied for only four hours in our area – one hour after each five hours,” said Wajid Afridi, a resident of Haji Mohammad Noor Killay.