LAHORE - The prolonged and unscheduled power cuts continued across the country, triggering angry protests in several cities including Lahore and Karachi. The Lahorites continues protests against unending and unscheduled power outages, which has multiplied their miseries, as Sunday witnessed the worst loadshedding with hours long outages reported in the morning and afternoon amid the rising temperature. Protest demonstrations were held outside the Lahore Press Club, Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam, Bund Road, Ravi Toll Plaza, Shahdara, Liaqat Chowk, Sabzazar Colony and other commercial areas resulting in blockade of surrounding roads, as the traffic remained jammed for three hours on many roads. The protesters carrying placards and banners were chanting slogans against the government as well as the authorities of the departments concerned. Meanwhile, official sources say the power shortfall increased up to 4,700 MW while total demand in the country is about 14,000 MW. As such, the Lesco authorities increased the loadshedding duration from 14 to 18 hour, which is painful for the citizens. Most of the residents of various vicinities complained about tripping of many hours. A large number of citizens also complained to the higher authorities that the unscheduled loadshedding was also for traders and agriculture and industrial sectors, which are experiencing a continuous decline due to historys worst loadshedding in the country. They were of the view that the prevailing energy crisis was a result of poor planning by the rulers who, instead of giving relief to the people, were focussing on their personal political prestige only. In this regard, PML-Q leader Mian Muhammad Asif said unfortunately, the govt had failed to deliver, as they had forgotten their obligations and promises made to their constituents. He said the government was reluctant to import cheaper and affordable electricity offered by Iran, which in fact was a conspiracy against the people. He said in case government refused to get electricity from Iran, he would move the court against the government. Referring to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilanis announcement to reduce loadshedding duration, Amir Jamaat Islami Punjab Dr Wasim Akhtar said problems could not be resolved with mere statements. He said the prevailing energy crisis was getting worse with the passage of time but the rulers were trying to satisfy the masses through consoling them and raising bogus slogans claiming that the crisis would end soon. In Gujranwala, where around 14 to 16 hours of loadshedding is being observed in urban areas and 18 to 20 hours in rural areas, hundreds of people gathered at the Aiwan roundabout and staged demonstration by burning tyres. They also blocked traffic on Islamabad-Lahore road. Owing to the continued loadshedding, more than 200 small industrial units have been closed in Gujranwala, leaving thousands jobless. In Multan, chamber of small traders took out a rally against the ongoing power outages and price-hike. They staged demonstration at Timber Market and set tyres on fire. The protesters threatened to give call for a shutterdown strike on April 14 if their demands were not met. The duration of electricity loadshedding in Khanewal, Muzaffargarh, Khangarh and Dera Ghazi Khan was now 17 hours. In addition, situation is almost similar in Balochistan, parts of Sindh and Northern Areas. Over 20-hour long unscheduled loadshedding has irked the local people as life has paralysed in the urban and rural areas. Installation of Burewala-Azeemabad and BTM grid stations with 20/26 and 40 MVA transformers has been approved but Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco) officials indifference has delayed the installation and the people of the area are facing 18 to 20 hours loadshedding. The people of the area have demanded of the Chief Executive Mepco and Minister for Water and Power to take measure to end loadshedding from the area. In Hafizabad, the people of Halqa Taraqiati Group NA-102 took out a rally in the city to protest against ever-increasing loadshedding in the area. They told TheNation that during the loadshedding hours, people have to face not only heat but mosquitoes and flies invasion also. As a result, not only business activities have come to standstill, but people are spending sleepless nights. The rally led by Malik Nazakat Ali Phulerwan President, Shahzad Khan Coordinator of Sanghat, Shazia Nazar Assistant Coordinator, Secretary Syed Ghulam Abbas Shirazi paraded through the main thoroughfares, demonstrated in front of TMA secretariat and terminated peacefully at Press Club. Agencies add: Hours-long loadshedding vexed Karachiites on Sunday. The KESC did not give any relief to the citizens on holiday when electricity demand was low due to closure of offices, markets and bazaars. This caused angry protests in different parts of the city. Loadshedding spells of one-hour, after regular intervals, tormented citizens in various parts of the City. Citizens especially students, preparing for Matriculation exams, suffered a lot due to power outages. The citizens questioned why they were being sent inflated bills by the KESC when it was not even providing them continuous supply of electricity. They appealed to authorities concerned and apex judiciary to take notice of their plights and get them rid of the brutal loadshedding and inflated electricity bills.