Despite Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s orders for uninterrupted power supply during Sehr and Iftar timings, most parts of the country, including the provincial metropolis, remained without electricity on Tuesday, plunging the citizens into darkness during the holy month of Ramzan.
Unannounced power cuts during Sehr and Iftar timings have exposed the governments’ tall claims of providing non-stop power in Ramzan. Besides, hours-long power cuts continued throughout the day.
Like other areas of the country, citizens of different areas of Lahore took to streets against the unannounced power cuts, while some headed to Lahore canal and swimming pools in recreational parks to beat the heat.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had on Monday directed the Ministry of Water and Power to ensure that no power outage was carried out during Sehr and Iftar. Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif had held out similar assurances to the nation.
But, the first day of the holy month of Ramzan exposed the government’s hollow claims of zero-electricity load shedding during Iftar and Sehr, as citizens in different parts of the country witnessed power load shedding which badly affected their routine during the first day of Ramzan.
Reports about electricity load shedding during Sehr were reported from different districts of Punjab, including Lahore, Sialkot, Nankana Sahib, Hafizabad, Wazirabad, Kasur, Sheikhupura, Okara, Faisalabad and Toba Tek Singh. Not only Sehr, people in these areas were also forced to break their first fast in darkness.
Saeed Ahmad, a resident of Sheikhupura, told Pakistan Today that he along with several citizens of suburban areas had their first Sehr in load shedding and faced the same situation during Iftar timing.
Residents of Lahore’s suburban areas Shahdara, Ferozwala, Kot Abdul Malik, Manga Mandi were also upset because of the frequent power cuts.
Shahdra, a surrounding town of Lahore, witnessed power outage from 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
In Kasur district, people complained about hours-long load shedding which started from midnight.
An official in the Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) told Pakistan Today that it is very hard for all power distribution companies (DESCOS) to maintain flow of electricity during specific hours across the country as the system was already facing a huge gap of demand and supply.
He said that the demand of electricity in country has risen to more than 20,000 megawatt (MW) while there is no way to increase power generation from 15,000 MW by all means (Gencos, IPPs and Hydle).
“LESCO receives around 3,000 MW from the national grid and it has a demand of more than 5,000 MW in general days. This demand has now soared to 6,000 MW” he added.
LESCO spokesman Imran Afzal told Pakistan Today that load shedding in many areas was caused by tripping of feeders which have now been repaired. He further said that LESCO workers are working day and night to facilitate the citizens while all help centres have been put on alert to listen to public complaints.