SIALKOT/HAFIZABAD-Sialkot, the native district of Federal Minister for Defence, Water and Power Khawaja Asif, was hit by the worst loadshedding of electricity.

The fast-observing people experienced day-long power outages in Sialkot, Daska, Sambrial, Pasrur and surrounding areas in hot and muggy weather, cursing the Gepco officials in this regard.

The electrical appliances including water motors, TVs, ACs, UPSs and LEDs were also destroyed due to uncontrolled fluctuations in power supply. There was shortage of water in houses, mosques and water filtration plants, due to which people suffered great ordeal. All the civic and trade activities also remained paralysed.

When connected, the Gepco officials said here that there were some technical faults in electrical system due to which people suffered power outages. Meanwhile, the recovery teams of Gujranwala Electric Power Company (Gepco) have miserably failed to recover prolonged pending arrears of Rs8.87 billion from 388,878 defaulters in Sialkot, Narowal, Gujrat, Hafizabad, Mandi Bahaud Din and Gujranwala districts.

According to the senior Gepco officials, it had repeatedly issued the recovery notices to these defaulters, but they still remain reluctant to clear their arrears by using their complete political influence.

Due to non recovery of the total arrears of Rs8.87 billion, the financial deficit of Gepco has crossed the danger sign at the end of the fiscal year 2015-16. The Superintending Engineers (SEs) of all the five circles, XENs and 112 SDOs were unable to recover these outstanding arrears of last three consecutive years.

The Gepco officials revealed that it has planned to launch a vigorous campaign for the recovery of said huge amounts from these chronic defaulters, which were stated to be influential politically. On the other side, a large number of the perturbed women with their children staged a protest demonstration against the loadshedding of gas in front of the Sngpl offices at Sialkot.

The protesting women carrying kitchen items also staged a sit-in. They chanted slogans against local SNGPL officials in this regard. They said that almost all the residential, commercial and industrial areas of Sialkot city including Pakka Garha, Kotli Behram, Model Town, Gohadpur, Muslim Town, Kashmir Road, Pak Pura, Prem Nagar, Nishat Park, Pooran Nagar, Water Works, Green Wood Street, Nehal Chand Street, Dara Aaraaiyaan, Tajpura, Hajipura, Rangpura, Hajipura Ban, Naikapura, Mubarakpura, Muhammadpura, Kashmiri Muhallah, Hamza Ghaus, Shafi Da Bhatta, Imam Sahib, Fatehgarh and Muhallah Bijli Ghar were badly hit by the worst loadshedding of gas.

They said the pressure of gas remains very low when they had gas for about two hours during the late nights. On the other hand, the loadshedding of gas for the domestic consumers has irked the consumers especially the females in Sialkot, Daska, Sambrial, Pasrur, Chawinda, Badiana and surrounding areas.

When contacted, the local SNGPL officials told that they negotiated with the protesting women and assured them about the early solution to their problems. On the assurance, the protesting women dispersed peacefully.

In Hafizabad, electricity played hide and seek with the masses of the district for the third consecutive day on Wednesday causing multiple problems to them. The plight of elderly persons and minor children particularly fasting people can well be imagined. Moreover, petty shopkeepers and workers engaged in the industries on daily wages have been deprived of their livelihood. Different social and political workers have called upon the government to honour their commitment to supply electricity smoothly during the holy month of Ramazanul Mubarak.