Elongated power outages

DIFFERENT parts of the country are experiencing severe heat-wave with mercury touching 53 degree centigrade in Turbat and heat-related deaths of two children in Punjab. On Monday as well, several areas in Sindh and Balochistan recorded highest ever temperature. Woes of the people have been complicated with the onset of the holy month of Ramazan when rising temperature becomes unbearable.
In this backdrop, eruption of riots in some parts of KP on Monday over prolonged load-shedding are understandable but unfortunate as these also claimed precious lives besides injuries to others including Levies officials, destruction of local office of PESCO and a police station at Dargai. On the same day, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif convened a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy and directed concerned officials to ensure minimum load-shedding during Ramazan and adopt a proactive approach for supply of maximum electricity during the month. His chairing of the meeting and expression of resolve that government would not sit idle till provision of meaningful relief to the masses is testimony to the fact that the PM is fully alive to the situation and some measures might be forthcoming during the next few days to ease the challenge. However, it is to be pointed out that the Premier had issued similar directions before the onset of holy month yet his directions had a transitory impact. The real problem seems to be the circular debt as provinces, government departments and some organisations are defaulters of billions of rupees and there is no mechanism in place to retrieve the billed amount from them. Similarly, the provinces are not cooperating with Federal Government in tackling the perennial problem of electricity theft and instead leaders of some parties are not only inciting people on violence but also leading violent protests. There is agreement between Federal and Provincial Governments over longer hours of load-shedding in areas where recoveries are above fifty percent and this is understandable as those who honestly pay their bills must not be penalised by way of prolonged outages because of theft or default on the part of others. People must realise that government, in no way, can afford to provide free of cost electricity. Cooperate with government as this is the only viable solution to the prevailing crisis.

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