KARACHI - Local citizens on Wednesday came on the roads in protest against the 12 to 14-hour loadshedding and hefty increase in the power-tariff in the metropolis. A strong demonstration was held against the KESC management and the angry protesters burnt the effigy of its new MD in front of the company's building. They chanted slogans against the KESC managers and the government. The protesters also blocked the road near Zainab Market.   On the other hand, Muhammad Farooq Dadabhoy, acting president FPCCI, in a meeting with Naveed Ismail, CEO KESC, said the cost of electricity for local industry was 9 cents per unit, which was badly affecting the competitiveness. "Until the conclusion of the ongoing dialogue, the price should not be considered as final," he added. He demanded that power supply should not be disconnected because of the non-payment of bills at the disputed prices and there should not be imposition of late surcharges because of the present crisis. It is to be noted that from last few days, Karachiites were facing prolonged power outages which forced them hold protests against the situation. "We are facing loadshedding despite repeated assurances from the government. The situation seems to be getting deteriorate. I think that I am paying bill for load-shedding," said a resident of Gulshan-e-Iqbal. "We will stop paying our bills now. If we are still forced to face 10 to 12-hour loadshedding, why should we pay for it?" asked another protester from Gulistan-e-Johar.   "The act of the NEPRA to allow the company to increase power-tariff is a sheer injustice being meted out to the citizens", he added. It is pertinent to mention here that the KESC has the annual income of around Rs 36 billion but nobody knows how much of this hefty amount is being spent on the generation and distribution of electricity. The generation and distribution of electricity need serious attention and effective strategy from new KESC management. On the other hand, Naveed Ismail said that KESC was not earning sufficient profit but the new management was determined to attract more investment to resolve its financial hardships. He mentioned that present hike in the power tariff was resulted from the withdrawal of subsidies by the government. He added that NEPRA had decided to increase tariff. Ismail assured that electricity would not be disconnected even if the people pay their bills as per previous rates. The representatives of FPCCI said that they would meet the minister of power and water to resolve this issue. Meanwhile, local courts also suffered due to prolonged and unscheduled loadshedding as power breakdowns badly affected proceedings of various important cases. The staffers of ATC courts said supply of electricity remained suspended occasionally during the last several days and could not continue hearing of the cases. "Notification for rise in electricity-tariff for domestic, commercial and industrial consumers should be withdrawn immediately", demanded the Consumers Association of Pakistan (CAP). chairman CAP, Kaukab Iqbal, along with senior vice president Naeem Patel, general secretary Farida Essa, chief co-coordinator Arif Nadeem Zaidi, Jawaid Ahmed Chattari Advocate vice chairman legal affairs, regional chairman Sindh Mumtaz Arain, vice chairman advisory council Anwar Aziz Jakartawala, Sharfu-din-Memon said that for smooth running of the economy, this notification should be taken back immediately. "A cut in power-tariff for the consumers up to 100 units would hardly provide any relief to the masses. The line looses and pilferage of electricity badly affects the distribution network of KESC. It would be injustice for innocent consumers, who are paying their bills regularly, to bear this 71 per cent hike in the tariff. Since last many years, our industrial growth has been stopped because it is unaffordable even for industrialists and traders to pay inflated electricity bills. For industrialists, this tariff would not only enhance the cost of input but will also adversely affect the exports. Consequently, flight of capital will reach epic proportions with result of further unemployment", they added. Kaukab Iqbal further said that a campaign to get signatures from the consumers was being launched soon to record their protest.