KARACHI - At least six people died of electrocution in parts of the city on Wednesday during a brief spell of rainfall, raising serious questions on the claims of preparedness made by the K-Electric.

Rain which started again in the evening continued till late at night.

The Nepra has already blamed the power company over deaths of 14 people in the city during last year’s rainfall. However, despite tall claims of K-Electric, it failed to improve its infrastructure.

Live electricity wires fell on a motorcyclist at Karsaz Road in the city, claiming his life on the spot. According to eye-witnesses, the man was moving on his motorcycle when electricity wire fell on him, causing his instant death. “K-Electric teams reached the incident site and removed wires from his body,” they said while sharing footage of the incident on social media.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Haleem Adil Shaikh held the K-Electric responsible for Rafiq’s death, announcing that he would get a first information report registered against the power utility. Shaikh, who visited the spot, observed that KE had not removed the live wire even though two-and-a-half hours had passed. In a tweet, the KE said it was “aware of an unfortunate incident near Karsaz, Karachi”.

“We are urgently looking into details and investigating. K-Electric’s relevant teams have already been mobilised,” it said, later announcing that the officer concerned had been suspended for negligence over the incident.

The body was shifted to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) for medico-legal formalities.

In another incident, a labourer working at a house in Model Colony died after an electric wire fell on him.

Another labourer in Karimabad was electrocuted while he was working near the Darul Islam Mosque. The rescue team said he was electrocuted while he was digging on the road and died on the spot. His body has been shifted to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. He is identified as Mirza Rehman. A nine-year-old child was electrocuted at his house in Muslim Town area of New Karachi. He was taken to hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead on arrival. He was identified as Ahmed Raza.

A 30-year-old man died of electrocution near Nagan Chowrangi area of Karachi. An aged man died of electrocution in Hijrat Colony area of Lyari.

K-Electric expressed its grief over deaths from electrocution and announced to suspend one of its officials for negligence in Karsaz incident.

Meanwhile, Sindh Minister for Energy Imtiaz Sheikh took notice of the electrocution deaths reported since the rains started, contacting the Power Division secretary, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) chairman and KE managing director regarding the issue. Expressing grief at the loss of lives, Shaikh directed the officials to take “strict action” after determining the persons responsible, according to a statement. According to the press release, a rain emergency cell had been formed where citizens can report electrocution cases and other accidents between 10am and 5pm.

Nepra had last year formally held KE responsible for 19 deaths from electrocution in Karachi and started legal proceedings against it. According to the investigation committee’s report, KE was held responsible not only for the 19 deaths due to electrocution during rains but also power breakdowns of long durations.

The investigation committee, which was constituted by Nepra in August 2019 under Section 27-A of the Nepra Act, 1997, had submitted its report in September after detailed field visits and examination of power installations where the fatalities had been reported.

“When we conducted a probe last year and found flaws in the system, the KE was asked to fix all those issues.

As per a compliance report of the company, they have fixed some 90 per cent of the electricity poles and the rest 10 per cent would be done by July 31. So one can’t guarantee what would happen or not but obviously if any wrong is found again, Nepra would move in line with defined rules,” a spokesperson for the power watchdog had said earlier this month.