SUKKUR: Irked with the long power outages, hundreds of residents staged a protest and sit-in outside Sukkur Electric Power Company’s (Sepco) Old Sukkur sub-division office, located near Shalimar, on Friday night.
Residents of Bhoosa Lane, New Pind, Qureshi Road, Numaish Road and other areas took part in the sit-in. The protesters shouted slogans against the Sepco officials, burnt tyres and blocked Minara Road, due to which traffic between Sukkur and Rohri remained suspended for more than four hours.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, a protester Naeem Khan claimed that four electric poles had fell on Qureshi Road after the dust storm and heavy rain on Thursday, because of which power supply to various areas has been disrupted. He alleged that the Sepco officials were demanding bribes to fix the poles and to restore electricity to these areas. He also claimed that many people have already given them money but so far nothing has been done.
Muhammad Qasim, who is a resident of Bhoosa Lane, alleged that the Sepco officials deliberately cut-off power supply to their area over the pretext of theft. He said that power theft is being carried out with the connivance of the Sepco officials, who charge certain amount per month from those who steal electricity.
Condemning the ineptness of the Sepco, another protester, Shoukat Ali, said that some localities of Old Sukkur are without electricity since one week and nothing has been done to restore it. He claimed that the Sepco officials always demand for money whenever the residents request them to repair a transformer or a line of any household. Recently, a transformer busted in New Pind and the Sepco officials demanded Rs20,000 to repair it, Ali claimed, adding that the people were forced to give the demanded money.
Since no Sepco official came to negotiate with the protesting residents, the area police assured the protesters that their issue will be taken up with authorities, after which the sit-in was ended. Speaking to The Express Tribune, the Sepco Sukkur operations superintendent engineer Akhtar Nabi Dogar said that load of the fallen poles has been shifted to the other feeder. He admitted that some of the areas are still without electricity.
He added that most of the problems were due to the old and vulnerable high-tension and low-tension conductors that snap off and on. Referring to the allegations against Sepco officials demanding bribes to repair transformers, Dogar said there are black sheep in the department and the issue needs to be dealt with an iron hand. The wrongs of decades could not be corrected overnight, he said.