LESCO, BISE lock horns over outages

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The Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) and Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE), Lahore are at odds on the issue of power supply during Intermediate Examinations at examination centres after LESCO failed to adjust the load shedding schedule according to exam timings.
LESCO’s failure to implement the load shedding schedule as proposed by BISE, urged BISE Chairman Akram Kashmiri to rewrite a letter to the LESCO chief executive officer (CEO) to adjust the schedule of load shedding according to paper timings on Tuesday. Intense summer with massive load shedding is irking hundreds of thousands of students appearing in intermediate exams across Punjab.
Students say they have no hope for any relief in the near future and appearing in exams with sweated hands is extremely difficult. The intermediate part-II exams started on May 7 but as the shortfall increased dramatically in recent days, miseries of students have increased. A board official, seeking anonymity, told Pakistan Today that the chairman had already written a letter to the LESCO chief before commencement of the exams but had to rewrite after noticing the increase in load shedding and heat.
Board officials told Pakistan Today that the schedule was not being followed by LESCO, which was making life extremely difficult for students. They claimed that LESCO only needed to avoid load shedding for just five to six hours during the whole day. Only two of the 606 centres formed for intermediate students are equipped with power generators.
LESCO Public Relations Officer (PRO) Javed Ahmed denied that LESCO had received any letter from BISE. He claimed that LESCO receives thousands of letters and he did not know about any letter from the BISE. The LESCO CEO was not available for comments despite repeated attempts. Part-II exams will end on May 23 and part-I exams will kick-off from May 24, which will continue until June 8, whereas, practical exams of part-I will continue until June 30. Students fear that they would have to face intense load shedding in practical exams, which could also create difficulties for students in laboratories, especially in computer science practical exams.
Student Naeem claimed that LESCO was making lame excuses, as it has power to adjust timings of load shedding. He said that if two major centres have the facility of generators, then it is discrimination. Naeem said that load shedding was not only irking students at examination centres but also barring them from preparing for exams, which was further widening the gap of rich and poor, as some students enjoy the facility of power generators and uninterruptible power suppliers (UPS).
School teacher Sameed said that unprecedented load shedding could be extremely destructive for the future of students. He claimed that these exams decide the fate of thousands of future engineering and medical students and this attitude of LESCO could spoil the future of students. Citizen Mrs Saqib feared that discrimination between the General Certificate Education (GCE) and BISE exams could force students to play in hands of criminals, as standards of public-sector education were deteriorating.
She claimed that the immense gap between the elite class and lower middle class has been widening while the federal government, which claims that education is its priority and 2011 is the year of education, has failed to deliver in this regard.