MULTAN: Scores of Pakistan Kisan Ittehad (PKI) members held a demonstration in front of the Pakpattan DCO’s office on Thursday. They claimed that the Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco) had overbilled them for electricity.
The protesters said they had received grossly inflated bills that they could not afford to pay. They shouted slogans against the Wapda and staged a sit-in in front of the DCO’s office for more than three hours.
PKI’s Chauhdry Rizwan Iqbal led the protest. “Overbilling by Wapda [Mepco] has made our lives miserable…many farmers cultivate crops on less than five acres of land and pay bills amounting to thousands of rupees.” He said the bills were beyond their means.
Abdur Rahman Wattoo, another PKI leader, said the government had done little to improve the miserable conditions farmers worked in. “Wapda officials inflate meter readings. [Mepco] officers pile up problems for farmers from their comfy rooms.” He said this month, they had been dispatched bills amounting to more than Rs80 million.
Akhtar Khan Baloch, another speaker at the demonstration, said the relief promised to farmers in the form of lower tariff on the use of tubewells was hogwash. “The Wapda [Mepco] has charged us farmers millions of rupees to conceal its officers’ corruption.” Baloch said that the farmers would not pay their bills until those were corrected.
The protesters demanded that the bills they had received be cancelled.
Pakpattan DCO Irfan Ahmad Sindhu visited the protesters and told them he would look into their grievances. He assured them that extra charges would be withdrawn and they would be issued bills with correct meter readings.