LAHORE - At a time when common people are dying of scorching heat amid an environment of almost no electricity and no water, the powerful are enjoying uninterrupted supply of power.

A big chunk of electricity - 1500MW - is daily eaten up from the system by influential departments and persons who also have not to face any tripping, it has been learnt reliably. If this figure does not make much sense, just bring to mind that officially total national average gap between electricity demand and supply is around 5,000MW.

The National Transmission and Dispatch Company and Discos deny any discrimination in electricity supply stating that smooth supply privilege is only for public hospitals and ‘important departments’, which are legally exempted form loadshedding. But, this is partial truth.

Provision of uninterrupted supply to hospitals is understandable and commendable, but the unstated part of the story is condemnable. It’s the holy month of Ramzan, and in a situation of a severe national energy crunch, even denying electricity to the ‘believers’ of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan at times of low heat intensity (Sehar, Iftar, Traveeh) could be digested - however difficult it might be.

But when the underdog is dying of heat in large numbers, even legal provision of uninterrupted supply to so-called ‘important departments’ seems quite unethical. These important departments include PM House, President House, Parliament building, office of superior judiciary, and the CM and governor houses. The list is in fact quite long and majority of these important departments are in fact impotent departments – the white elephants indeed who are feeding on public money with little output.

We have intentionally not named defence and ‘sensitive’ installations (which include such buildings as some ‘unpatriotic’ people would prefer to call ‘dens’) fearing that we conveniently might be labelled ‘traitors’.

And then there are villas, farmhouses and business houses, even factories, of VVIPs and business tycoons which are also getting smooth electricity supply round the clock. Denying it is much easier than justifying it, so no one on record would admit it. You doubt this claim? Just visit the residence of any major politician - either from government or opposition - in your area, if you can get access!

Some sources at power dispatch centres, seeking anonymity, confirmed that uninterrupted supply to big fish, saying it was not so hidden a fact. “If you are an influential or you are enjoying good relationship with bosses of any power distribution company, you can enjoy the facility of maximum electricity supply,” said an official of the power sector. Sources in power dispatches centres of some Discos and national power control centre informed that zero or minimum loadshedding is carried out at feeders supplying power to PM House, President House, parliament building, armed forces headquarters, head offices and regional offices, court premises, provincial governors and chief minister offices and houses, some powerful ministers and personalities in opposition.

The number of feeders exempted of loadshedding is maximum in Lesco (in Lahore area) as compared to any other distribution company, though most of the offices where zero-loadshedding is ‘legal’ are situation in Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

Sources said there are more than two dozen feeders supplying uninterrupted electricity to powerful departments and personalities in Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) area alone. The company is not conducting loadshedding at two Raiwind feeders, which supply electricity to the houses of ruling PML-N leadership. The intensity of loadshedding is minimum at certain feeders in DHA and Model Town, they said. Lesco also provides round the clock electricity high court buildings and CM House. The power cuts are also minimum at the feeder of Punjab University.

Sources said some 50 feeders are dedicated to provide 24-hour electricity supply to powerful department and personalities in the limits of Islamabad Electric Supply Company. Since hometown of Water and Power Minister Khwaja Asif is situated in the limits of Gepco, there are more than 40 feeders exempted of loadshedding.

In Faisalabad area, the hometown of State Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali, the Fesco is providing with maximum electricity supply and as many as 45 feeders are totally exempted of loadshedding. The sources said that more than 120 feeders in Mepco, Sepco, Hesco, Qesco, Pesco and Tesco are either exempted of loadshedding or minimum loadshedding is being conducted on them.