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Gas also vanishes with power during Sehr, Iftar in Punjab

As a result of an acute shortage in the supply of furnace oil to powerhouses, the electricity shortfall in the country on Saturday soared to unprecedented levels, touching 6,500MW leading to a corresponding spike in unannounced loadshedding. Meanwhile, gas loadshedding particularly at Sehr and Iftar also prompted protests across Punjab

According to the Energy Management Cell (EMC), electricity generation on Saturday stood at 12,431MW while demand increased to 18,517MW. Owing to the gap in supply and demand, loadshedding rose substantially with major power distribution companies including Lesco, Fesco, Gepco and Mepco increasing the duration and frequency of unannounced power outages. — Agencies

Our correspondents add: In Lahore, angry residents took the streets to voice their protest against continuous and unannounced gas and electricity loadshedding. People from all walks of life converged on major roads and set fire to tyres, demanding that the federal government halt the unfair treatment being meted out to Punjab.

Demonstrators also condemned the loadshedding of gas across Punjab cities and towns. “They have no shame, they turn off the power at Iftar and Sehr,” lamented one housewife. “There is no gas to prepare food at the crucial times,” she added. Protesters chanted vociferous slogans against the government and threatened to resort to violence if the menace of loadshedding was not resolved immediately.

In Pakpattan, three policemen including the Faridnagar SHO were injured in a clash with protesters Saturday. Earlier, hundreds of people, including farmers, had blocked roads at Jamal Chowk in protest of 20-hourlong electricity loadshedding. Demonstrators chanted slogans against Wapda for imposing long shutdowns and serving them inflated bills. The police baton charged the protesters when they reached Jamal Chowk. Later, the police resorted to aerial firing to disperse the crowd.

In Nankana Sahib, citizens staged a demonstration and blocked major road arteries by burning tyres to protest 19-hourlong power outages near the DPS School. Protesters pelted the Wapda office with stones, and lamented that unscheduled loadshedding had severely paralysed life. They added that loadshedding peaked at Iftar and Sehr across the district.

Residents in Chakwal also took to the streets to protest increased loadshedding. Businessmen and farmers complained that their livelihood had been destroyed by power outages, and that life had become unbearable given the acute shortage of electricity and soaring summer temperatures. Protesters also lashed out at the practice of discontinuing the supply of gas to homes.

In Kasur, meanwhile, two Lesco officials were injured in a protest against unscheduled loadshedding at the Mustafabad grid station in the limits of the Mustafabad police office. Dozens of residents led by Arshad Ali of the PML-N staged a protest demonstration against unprecedented loadshedding, while several protesters pelted the grid station with stones and rocks. When shift-in-charge Muhammad Sadiq and security guard Muhammad Salah came outside to address the situation, they were injured and were immediately rushed to DHQ Hospital.

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