PESHAWAR: Prolonged power suspensions and low voltage in parts of Peshawar, Charsadda and Nowshera irked consumers who blocked various roads in protest, causing serious problems for commuters in the scorching heat on Wednesday.
The prolonged outages, which started with Ramazan, also led to acute shortage of water, forcing the people to bring drinking water from far-off areas on motorcycles and trolleys. Unavailability of water in mosques further irritated the people.
In Peshawar, following announcements through loudspeakers the residents came out in processions and blocked main roads in respective areas. Besides link roads the main arteries like Kohat Road, Bara Road and Charsadda Road were blocked for many hours by throwing stones and burning tyres on them.
Long queue of vehicles on both sides of the road were observed where the blazing sun also forced the passengers to clash with the protesters and as a result young protesters pelted stones on the vehicles and shouted anti-government slogans.
Protesters block main roads for several hours
Leaders of different political parties, including nazims, led the protesters.
Talking to mediapersons, Awami National Party leader Khushdil Khan advocate said that the federal government had promised to avoid loadshedding during Ramazan, especially at Sehr and Iftar times, but failed to fulfil its commitment.
People have been facing power outages and acute shortage of water, he said and added that in such a situation they could not remain silent.
The road was opened when police officials on behalf of Peshawar Electric Supply Company assured the protesters of solution to their demand.
Similarly, residents of Bara Gate, Swato Phattak, Umeedabad, Shaheen Colony and Nasir Korona blocked Bara Road at Bara Gate on Wednesday morning by burning tyres on the road forcing motorists to ply on link roads towards their destinations.
The protesters were led by Sajjad Khalil, Abdur Rahman and Syed Jaffar Shah who told mediapersons that they were not protesting against just outages. They said that power supply had been suspended totally for past many hours without any reason.
Waving paid power bills, the consumers said that they were regularly paying bills and had assured relevant SDO of full cooperation against power thieves, if any. Jaffar Shah said that in routine loadshedding was carried out for 12 hours, but with the beginning of Ramzan the outages had been increased to 20 hours. He urged the Pesco chief executive Anwarul Haq Yousufzai to play role in implementation of his commitment to facilitate ‘good consumers’ and punish the ‘bad ones’. He alleged that State Minister Abid Sher Ali was intentionally teasing the faithful in Ramazan otherwise there was no logic for a sudden rise in outages.
Pesco spokesman Shaukat Afzal could not be approached on phone despite efforts. However, a statement issued by him said that the Pesco CEO had directed for swift resolution of public complaints.
In Nowshera, people blocked the main GT road at Risalpur for traffic for about two hours to record their protest against excessive loadshedding on Wednesday.
The residents of Sess Mandi, Risalpur, Kandaro and nearby localities, led by local nazims and religious leaders, blocked the main Nowshera-Mardan road, resulting in long queues of vehicles on both sides of the road.
Amanat Khan, naib nazim and local ANP leader, said that people of the area had been facing 18-hour loadshedding.
Councillor Gandehri union council Kifayat Khan said that because of water shortage people were also facing problems to prepare for prayers in mosques.
The road was opened on the assurance of DSP cantonment that their grievances would be removed on priority basis.
In Charsadda, the residents of Charsadda and Shabqadar tehsils blocked the main Shabqdar-Bajaur road and Charsadda-Peshawar road to traffic in protest against unscheduled and prolonged loadshedding and low voltage in parts of the district on the second consecutive day of Ramazan.
The protestors erected tents on the main Peshawar-Shabqdar-Bajaur road to block it completely. They were chanting slogans against the government for its failure to overcome energy crisis.
Nazims and area councilors led the protests, which demanded immediate end to the unscheduled outages.