Protests against rising electricity bills in Lahore become violent
While widespread public demonstrations have been taking place across Punjab and the rest of the nation for several days, LAHORE: On Sunday, angry people began acting violently against officials from power distribution companies. According to a company official, a large number of Lesco team members sustained serious injuries during the attacks in different areas under the company’s jurisdiction in the districts of Lahore, Kasur, Okara, Sheikhupura, and Nankana Sahib.
In some areas of Lahore and the nearby Kasur district, protesters attacked Lesco teams, fought with police, and injured them in response to being pressured to pay under the pretext of either unpaid bills or electricity theft.
Numerous such violent acts against officials were reported in the provincial capital. In the first incident, a shopkeeper, his brother, and a few locals were all attacked by the Lesco team while they were in the Moti Masjid Chowk of the Shah Alam Market. They beat the team members, seriously injuring the meter reader Rana Imran, who had to go to the hospital. The shopkeeper was accused of power theft, according to the power company, though. Another such incident happened in Tajpura (Madina Town), where a customer named Mahmood alias Laalu fired shots at the Lesco recovery team.
This led to the shooting of Raja Amir, a Lesco official.
He was also taken to a hospital, where he lived.
The third incident took place at Kasur, where ice factory owners got into a fight with the Lesco team. They threatened the authorities with their lives. The fourth incident happened at Hamza Town’s Green Cap Society, where the patrons seriously hurt Waris, the line superintendent.
Attacks on Lesco officials and injuries have been reported in Kasur and Lahore
In the meantime, a number of customers organized protest demonstrations against the significant increase in the power tariff and additional taxes on the bills in a number of locations throughout Lahore, including Harbanspura, Shahdara, Wahdat Road, and Ichhra. They refused to pay their bills for the current month and burned them at Bhatta Chowk. The demands for the abolition of bill taxes and a reduction in power rates based on the income of the poor were written on placards and banners carried by the protesters, who also included women and children. (electricity bills)
A customer complained to Dawn that they were in a “continuously dire situation,” meaning they lacked the resources to manage their household’s other expenses in addition to their astronomical electricity bills.
On the other hand, the management of Lesco expressed their determination to use any means necessary to recover their losses from electricity defaulters and thieves. It stated that during the previous few days, its teams had been attacked in a number of locations, seriously injuring some officials.
Due to high bills, consumers are left with no choice but to either avoid paying bills or start stealing electricity using various methods. They have even started thrashing the Lesco teams that have been visiting their areas to recover debts or stop theft because they are so irritated by the situation, a Lecso official source told Dawn. (electricity bills)
You will see a fast increase in power theft, number of bill defaulters, recovery operations, and violence against the officials by the angry consumers in the days ahead,” the official, who asked to remain anonymous, expressed concern. He advised the government to contact the International Monetary Fund (IMF) right away and request its approval to provide some relief to the power consumers, especially those using electricity up to 300 units.
According to a report given to the media, the Lesco administration has also stepped up its efforts to collect the debt from the public sector defaulting businesses and departments. Lesco teams recently recovered Rs 300 million from various town administrations, Rs 320 million from the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa), over Rs 38 million from PIC, Rs 8 point 5 million from the Punjab Drug Testing Laboratory, Rs 937,885 million from the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), Rs 1 point 3 million from the Public Health Institute, Rs 627,677 million from the Amiruddin Medical College, Rs 14 million from the Office of Advocate General, Rs 2 point 3 million from the.
An executive engineer was fired from his position by the company after complaints led to the suspension of a meter reader. (electricity bills)
JAMAAT-I-ISLAMI: Sirajul Haq, the emir of Jamaat-i-Islami, has declared a nationwide strike for September 2 (Saturday) in protest of skyrocketing electricity costs. He has warned the government to reverse the recent increase in the power tariff or prepare to face popular wrath.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark the 82nd anniversary of the JI’s founding, Mr. Haq promised that the party’s strike and protests would be nonviolent. He also made a plea for the public to speak out against injustice and take part in demonstrations. If the government continued to be unyielding, he warned, the JI would organize demonstrations in front of the offices of the power companies.
According to the JI emir, the PDM, PPP, and PTI governments’ flawed economic policies were a direct cause of the current inflation.
He claimed that the former leaders planted landmines for the populace by signing a contract with the International Monetary Fund. Tragically, he said, the nation’s resources were frequently sacrificed as the underprivileged sections of society continued to bear the costs associated with the ruling class’ extravagant lifestyles.
Mr. Haq bemoaned the fact that some families, who benefited from the British Raj, continued to rule the nation even after it gained independence 75 years earlier.
He claimed that the military establishment consistently supported corrupt and feudalistic dynasties, allowing them to amass wealth and establish offshore companies to protect the futures of their own generations at the expense of the aspirations and dreams of the country. He claimed that the present situation undermined the nation’s hopes for a better future.
Inflated bills are too much for the poor to handle. We’ll observe a strike and conduct nonviolent protest actions in front of the Wapda offices. We will pressure the government to reverse the IMF-instigated decision that was made with the intention of harming the poorest people. “.
The JI chief emphasized how difficult it would be to achieve both justice and peace. He claimed that throughout the previous seven decades, the governments of the so-called democratic parties and military dictators put preserving their own interests ahead of the welfare of the people and the national interest.
He urged people to use caution and refrain from putting any more trust in these entities in light of these realities. Instead, he argued for the selection of competent and moral leaders and exhorted the populace to reject well-known parties that were vulnerable.