Editorial : Rising heat - Thursday, April 28, 2011

As summer temperatures rise, Lahore has witnessed its first power protests. Traders, whose businesses have been crippled by the power cuts, have demonstrated against the outages which extend to 10 hours a day or more in some areas. In other places, furious citizens, including textile workers, have attacked Wapda offices. It is almost impossible to keep track of the duration of the cuts, given that, unlike the situation in previous years, there appears to be no set schedule and no order in the way the cuts are managed. Rather than flickering out on the hour, the loadshedding occurs erratically, at any time during the day, making any kind of planning impossible. Workshop owners cannot even hope to guess when it is possible to get tasks of various kinds done, and must instead deal with irate clients seeking to get cars repaired or documents photocopied. Perhaps, this creation of deliberate mayhem is a way to leave doubts over the precise duration of loadshedding. A countrywide power shortfall of nearly 5000 MW is being reported, and there is no indication of what steps – if any – are being taken to bring this under control.

The situation is worse in smaller towns in Punjab, with power, in some cases, available for barely four hours a day. The GT Road, and even the Lahore-Islamabad Motorway has been blocked, but it seems the calls of desperate citizens fall on deaf ears. In Peshawar too, people have taken to the streets. The government remains essentially indifferent to the plight of its citizens. This is hardly surprising given the giant generators that bring light to the homes of ministers, even as the masses flounder in the darkness. Worse still, is the fact that solutions seem to be available, but are being ignored. Both Iran and China have offered to provide power to Pakistan, according to reports. So too has India. It is a mystery why these offers have not been taken up and why the long agony of the people has not been ended. This mystery needs to be solved immediately. It has continued for far too long already.

Source : http://thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=43929&Cat=8

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