LAHORE The irate public across the country on Sunday came out on streets to protest the unscheduled and chronic power cuts. Chanting slogans against government and Pepco authorities, they became violent, burnt tyres, damaged govt installations and ransacked the Fesco offices as the power shortfall reached 7,000 megawatts. Police baton-charged the protesters in different areas to disperse people and avoid any untoward situation. Dozens were hurt in the protests. The protesters were furious over the governments indifference to solve their problems and curb the power crisis making their lives miserable. The magnitude of the power crisis can be gauged from the gap between demand and total electricity generation which has crossed 7,000MW. All the power producers (hydel, thermal, IPPs and RPPs) having the installed capacity of more than 18,000 MW are generating 9,000MW of electricity against an existing demand of 16,000MW. Sources say the government since last week has not bothered to provide fuel to the thermal units. Resultantly, the national grid has been facing 3,000MW shortfall only due to the fuel shortages. The additional water releases allowed by IRSA for three days stopped on Saturday, bringing hydel generation down to 3,200MW against 6,400MW on Friday. Thus a combined effect of all these factors has increased the shutdown upto 14 hours in urban areas and upto 20 hours in rural areas. The miserable situation compelled the people on Sunday to come out on the roads in different cities of the country. Violent protests were witnessed in Lahore where the people in Mehmood Booti area near Ring Road, Taxali Chowk, Chung, Prem Nagar, Mozang, Ferozepur Road, Shahdara and other localities blocked the traffic for hours, burnt the tyres and chanted slogans against the government and power managers. To add insult to the injury, police swooped upon the protesters and indiscriminately charged them with batons. Aggressive protestors, in retaliation, also pelted stones on police and reportedly five policemen including a deputy superintendent of police (DSP) and many protestors were injured during the clashes at Ring Road. The protestors also burnt two police vans when reportedly policemen started beating them with baton and used teargas to disperse them. Traffic remained blocked at least for six hours at Ring Road, one of the important roads of the provincial metropolis. Later, during the search operation in Mehmood Booti area, Punjab Police arrested at least 40 protestors. During another protest in Prem Nagar, the people also set on fire a Wapda office. The police, during the protests in Taxali Chowk and Chung, tried to disperse the crowds with teargas and aerial firing, which also ended up in wounding many protesters. The residents of Chung area said that there had been no electricity in the area for the past four days, and consequently they had been no potable water as well. The demonstrators chanted slogans against the government and pelted stones on the policemen. Many roads were closed for traffic as the protesters burnt tyres to protest the outages. Efforts by the police to calm down the crowds failed as the demonstrators stated that they needed an explanation from the Punjab Chief Minister. Reportedly, rampant loadshedding also triggered mass protests in other cities of the country including Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Vehari, Khanewal, Jhang in Punjab and various cities of Khyber PK, Blochistan and Sindh as well. There were reports that crowds in Gujranwala and Faisalabad took to the streets, complaining of 14 to 18 hour power outages. This is worth mentioning here that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had warned on Saturday the federal government against excessive loadshedding in the province and its impact on the spread of dengue epidemic. The doctors bodies from Punjab had also warned against the power cuts contribution to the dengue spread. But the federal government is keeping mum over the situation. Meanwhile, different traders bodies, Anjuman Tajran Pakistan, political parties including Jamat-e-Islami and Tehrike-e-Istiqlal Pakistan have condemned the unending outages and announced that countrywide rallies and protests would be staged against the power cuts on Monday (today). They said their business activities had ruined due to the unjustified power shortages. The government could have brought the power deficit down by providing fuel to the electricity generating units but the rulers did not take serious steps to address the problems of the people, they stated. General Manager Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco), Ijaz Qureshi, when contacted, said the loadshedding would decrease in two days. He said the fuel for the power plants of Kapco, Hubco and Gencos is available to now, so, he added, there would be considerable increase in the electricity generation on Monday (today). Within next two days, he said, power units of Muzaffargarh, Halmore, Saf and Orient would start generating electricity. Ijaz told TheNation that government had paid Rs 8 billion to PSO and IPPs to bring down the electricity shortfall. In Toba Tek Singh, various organisations will take out a rally from the Waryam Road on Monday (today) to protest against 20-hour power outages, inflated bills and unjustified raise in petroleum products prices. A meeting held at the Press Club was presided over by Labour Party district secretary Tariq Mahmood. It was addressed by Labour Qaumi Movement presidents of Kamalia,Gojra and Toba Malik Abdul Majeed, Muhammad Shabbir and Karam Elahi respectively. Separately, a joint meeting of the powerloom workers and owners associations was held on the Waryam Road in Factory Area with Powerloom Owners Association President Malik Rehmat Ali in the chair. On the occasion, Haji Idrees, Hasan Raza, Mian Zahid Iqbal, Dr Irshad and Ilyas Insari that the rally would be taken out to condemn prolonged power loadshedding. In Bahawalnagar, long hours power outages-wary people attempted to storm the house of local MPA. However, the police timely intervention and averted the situation to go ugly. Moreover, five protests were staged in different areas of the city to voice anger against the worst power loadshedding that has crippled the life and has snatched rest and peace of the people. According to detail, scores of inhabitants of Farooqabad, Nizampura, Model Town staged demos at Bahawali chowk against the intolerable 22 hours long loadshedding. The protesters set traffic out of gear for hours on Haroonabad Road. They also chanted slogans against the government for failure to overcome the crippling energy crisis. Becoming full of fret and fume the demonstrators (who were also carrying clubs) demanded immediate remedy for the problem. Government should make things right for people convenience otherwise people will have no option other than to resort to civil disobedience, said one Saleem, a resident of Nizampura while commenting on the ongoing problem. Another demo was staged at Rafiq Shah Chowk wherein violent people chanted slogan against Wapda authorities and expressed their anger against the inhumane attitude and overbilling. Meanwhile, the protesters marched towards Jinnah Colony and some of them who were also carrying clubs attempted to enter the house of local MPA Rana Abdul Rauf. On the occasion, two protesters were arrested by the police who were later released. It has been learnt that before the arrival of the protesters at Jinnah colony, all the high ups of the district administration took out a dengue awareness walk that was led by Bahawalnagar DCO Asim Iqbal. As soon as the protesters reached there, the DCO skipped off the scene to avoid any unpleasant situation. The charged citizen chanted slogans against the government and blast the rulers for the indifference and apathy towards the problems of the masses. Sensing the deteriorating situation, some other officials also managed their escape from the scene. Long hour outages stretching over 20 to 22 hours have deprived the common man comfort, sleep and even the patience. They are not ready to bear this sufferings any more, as they have to spend sleepless nights. Even the normal life has been also losing its meaning due to electricity problem and subsequent worsening economic exigency. Meanwhile, three more demos were also staged in different localities - Railway Colony, Faisal Colony and Khadimabad. The protesters voiced their anger and demanded remedy for the haunting problem forthwith. The police also resorted to baton charge to disperse the protesters and bring the situation under control. In Sialkot, hundreds of woman teachers from different government schools and colleges, on Sunday staged an anti-power outages demonstration at congested Allama Iqbal Chowk to vent off their spleen against 20 hours long power outages. They also staged a sit-in there. They were wearing black armbands. They were carrying banners and placards and chanted anti-government slogans for remaining failed in giving any relief in overcoming the menace of aggregating energy crisis in the country. Later, these female teachers (including colleges lecturers and professors) also took out anti-dengue awareness raising walk in Sialkot. Walk began from the offices of Sialkot education department and ended at Sialkot Kutchery after passing through all the main city roads. They stressed upon the need of making all out sincere, effective individual and collective joint efforts to curb the menace of dengue fever. In Gujrat, the prolonged spell of power outages triggered mass protests in the district in which angry protestors torched furniture and records of the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) sub-offices over the past two days, TheNation learnt here. The district is witnessing 16 hours long spell of power outages a day which has crippled the local business as well as social activities. More than seven protests were staged in the district to condemn the callousness of the Wapda authorities. Scores of angry demonstrators attacked the Wapda complaint office situated on Shahdoula Road and burnt down its furniture and official records. The protestors blocked the road for hours by burning tyres. Following the protest on Shahdoula Road, the rest of the traders also staged protests in different parts of the city including on GT Road, Fawara Chowk, Pakistan Chowk and Bypass Road and chanted slogans against the government. Later, they marched through the roads of the city and burnt down the posters and banners of different political parties hanging on the electricity polls. The police resorted to baton charge on the protestors at Haryawala Chowk when they blocked GT Road against the power outages that suspended the traffic flow for hours.