KESC problems


Something on the lines of 50,000 industrialists refusing bill payments to KESC was bound to happen sooner or later. That they’d rather deposit due amounts elsewhere to protest power shortages shows they are willing to risk immediate disconnection even if it means permanent closure for most units. Concerning as the situation is, it still provides the government with an opportunity of ensuring a smooth resolution, in addition to re-establishing its authority.
First and foremost, it must establish the truth behind the charge that KESC deliberately indulges in power cutting, citing inadequate gas supply from SSGC, to warrant increased subsidy. And once the investigation is complete, it must ensure swift redressal of genuine grievances, and take punitive measures where necessary. Already, the power crisis has crippled industry, destroying its standing in regional and international markets.
It is important to note that if this particular standoff is allowed to get uglier, then the government will be rightly blamed for letting crises simmer before turning its attention to fire-fighting and damage control, something it has made a habit of. If the situation worsens, markets and industrialists will not be the only suffering parties. Failure to posture proactively will further erode the government’s credibility.
It is not long before these protestors go to the polls. Being in the market for ages, they are well aware of departmental tendencies towards excesses. If their hunch is right, and KESC is deliberately paralysing industry for its own benefits, those at the helm of affairs in Islamabad are likely to suffer as well. This matter is urgent, there can be no dilly-dallying.