LANDI KOTAL: Contrary to official claims about considerable curtailment of loadshedding hours during Ramazan, the Tribal Areas Electric Supply Company (Tesco) has been subjecting residents of Khyber Agency to almost 20 hours of power outages daily with no respite even at Sehr and Iftar.
The prolonged loadshedding has rendered most the electric appliances, including refrigerators, ineffective and thus depriving local residents of homemade ice at Iftar.
The power outages have also caused acute shortage of drinking water forcing the residents to buy the commodity from private water tankers at exorbitant prices. Womenfolk in Bakarabad, Ghundi and Jamalkhel localities of Jamrud had to fetch drinking water in buckets and pitchers from far-off places on foot as the tube wells were rendered ineffective due to prolonged loadshedding.
Residents of Malakdinkhel, Shalobar, Akkakhel, Sipah, Kamarkhel and Bar Qambarkhel in Bara sub-division were the worst affected as they were still awaiting repair of damaged electricity wires and replacement of the faulty transformers.
Many families have left for Kalam, Naran to spend Ramazan
The political administration had in March last year announced to restore power supply to most parts of Bara when repatriation of thousands of displaced families started to their respective localities. The administration had then pledged Rs30 million for restoration of power supply to Bara, but still most areas were without electricity.
Local sources accused the Tesco officials of unlawfully ‘selling’ electricity to local furnace units instead of providing the same to domestic consumers as was promised by the local administration prior to their rehabilitation in March 2015. TESCO officials denied these charges and said that they were in the process of repairing the damaged electricity infrastructure which they said would take some time.
Frustrated with the failure of both Tesco and local administration to ensure the promised reduction in loadshedding hours, hundreds of well-to-do families in all the three tehsils of Khyber Agency shifted to Naran, Abbottabad, Nathiagali, Murree and Kalam in Swat as the mercury shot up with the start of Ramazan.
Akhtar Ali, a resident of Landi Kotal told Dawn by phone from Naran that long and unscheduled loadshedding compelled him to bring his family to Naran where according to him weather was very pleasant and drinking water was available in abundance.
Banaras Khan, another resident questioned the government’s failure to implement its policies in tribal areas. “We are always victimised and are not treated at par with other regions of the country when it comes to providing some relief,” he lamented.