MALAKAND - The prolonged power outages have caused an acute shortage of drinking water in Malakand, according to local people.

They said despite a blood-stained protest, heavy load shedding is continued in various areas across Malakand and sizzling summer put the lives of local people in trouble.

The people criticised the political parties and their local leaders and workers as they have also lost their courage to go on strike against the PESCO on heavy and unbearable load shedding, especially during sehr and iftar times.

The government has lodged an FIR against the protesters on May 29, in which, Javed Khan Tofan was shot dead by the levies.

The government generates more than 121 MWs electricity through Malakand-III HPP, Jaban Powerhouse and Dargai Power house, collectively whereas it imposes heavy loadshedding in the area each summer.

A PESCO consumer while talking to this scribe in the recently revealed that two to three years ago, around two dozens of steel mills had been set up by the industrialists in Dargai and the hydropower houses are generating electricity, adding that PESCO has provided separate supply lines of electric power to these industrial units.  A worker, requesting not to be named, said that these steel mills are load shedding free and they get unsuspended electric supply 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

It is also learned that many times in the past four months, the residents of Kharkai, Jaban, Mehrdi, and Wartair recorded their protest demonstrations, set-ins. Unanimous resolutions were also passed by the local bodies’ representatives along with the local residents but no action was taken against these steel mills.

In the holy month of Ramazan, inhabitants of various localities, including Herosha, Sakhakot, Gahri Usmani Khel, Wartair, Batkhela, Totakan, Harchand, Badraga, face more than 20 hours load shedding. Badraga is the hometown of MPA Muhammad Ali Shah Bacha as well, he said.

The low voltage is another main problem being faced by these localities in the hours of electricity availability. The electric current supplied to the consumers is of seriously low voltage and is not of use for the water pumps to get drinking water as well as running electronic appliances, said Sakhakot, a local resident.

The PESCO local authorities are victimizing those PESCO consumers who raise their voice against them for unscheduled load shedding and those who have registered FIRs, charging them of electricity stealing.

Another resident added in the tense situation, the dwellers of various areas are expected to come on roads once again and this time the situation would not be controllable even for the government too.

The PPP MPA Muhammad Ali Shah, Tehsil Nazim Dargai, and many councilors said that the federal government should take notice of the heavy load shedding, imposed in Malakand and should resolve the issue peacefully.