People warns, protests against the extreme power and gas cut in the region

Technicians work to clean power transmission tower in Karachi, Pakistan, December 7, 2018. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro - RC11E816FCB0

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan: A mass protest took place in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region of Pakistan demanding the immediate supply of power and natural gas. According to the people there have been excessive power and gas cut.

The protestors, including traders, transporters, CNG station owners and others, gathered outside the Peshawar Press Club and raised slogans against the hike in gas and power tariffs, calling it an act of sheer injustice by the government towards them, the Dawn newspaper reported.

They criticized the political leaders saying, “they were unwilling to abandon their luxurious life and instead, they were unjustifiably asking the inflation-hit common man for more sacrifices” and warned that if the excessive power cuts didn’t come to an end within three days, more street protests would be staged.

“Gas supply has been suspended without a schedule and thus, badly hitting our business,” All Pakistan CNG Owners Association provincial president, Fazal Muqeem said.

He further added that the hike in power tariff and frequent outages had also caused CNG price to go up to Rs 9 per kg. The investors had to run those filling stations on diesel due to the frequent power cuts and thus, suffering losses.

Member of Pakistan Assembly, Fazal Ilahi complained that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa produced electricity and natural gas more than its needs but even then, the federal government didn’t ensure their smooth supply to the residents in violation of the constitutional provisions.

“The domestic consumers regularly paid bills but even then, they were subjected to excessive gas cuts,” the Dawn newspaper quoted Fazal Ilahi as saying.

The transporters demanded an immediate withdrawal of the hike to the relief of all while complaining that they were struggling to manage their expenses following an unprecedented hike in oil prices over the weeks, the Dawn newspaper reported.

A group of traders demonstrated in the Peshawar’s Qissa Khwani Bazaar against the recent increase in gas and power tariffs and complained about prolonged power and gas outages despite traffic hikes. They raised slogans against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Peshawar Electric Supply Company over the gas and power crises.

Another group of protestors staging a protest at Swabi-Mardan Road, which was blocked to traffic at Gohati Bridge shouted slogans against the federal and provincial governments blaming them for the current economic mess and energy crisis.

The protestors said that they would meet Swabi’s deputy commissioner to apprise him of their misery and seek immediate corrective measures by the relevant authorities, the Dawn newspaper reported.

It was reported a week earlier that Pakistan is facing an acute electricity crisis resulting in a power shortfall of 6,500 megawatts (MW) accompanied by long hours of load shedding, lasting up to 12 hours.

Against a demand of 26,000 megawatts, the power supply in the country remained at 19,500 megawatts, reported Ary News. Rural areas in Pakistan are experiencing power cuts for up to 12 hours.

Further, the electricity shortfall of Lahore Electric Supply Company(LESCO) has reached 8,00 megawatts. Although the electricity demand is 4,800 megawatts, the electricity supply is 4,000 megawatts.

The closure of several power plants in Pakistan due to lack of fuel and other technical pitfalls has caused an electricity shortfall, resulting in power outages. Few powerplants also received capacity payments post-shutdown as well.

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