IT is a crying shame that loadshedding in the country is now at its peak. The present figures released by the officials confirm that the shortfall has reached a whopping 4600MW. While in certain cities, the outages have extended up to 18 hours, the rural areas live without power supply for as many as 20 hours. The pity is that the hapless consumer is paying much higher charges than warranted. They have no electricity in their homes but hefty bills are sent them every month. Worse still, the news that the government is planning to increase the electricity rates from next month sounds virtually like a death knell to the masses who are already hard put to meet both ends. What is aggravating the situation is the sizzling record-breaking heat in Karachi with the mercury going as high as 42 degrees Celsius. Business and commerce are the biggest casualties. Factories have been forced to shut and the labour layoff has turned Faisalabad, also referred to as the Manchester of Pakistan for its textile mills, into an industrial graveyard. Indeed every field of life has been disturbed. A shortage of drinking water has ensued because WASAs functioning has also been badly hurt on account of frequent power outages. On the other hand, the scourge is also having its effects on our future generations. The students especially those taking their examinations are finding it increasingly hard to show good performance. One would have wished that the Ministers, particularly the Cabinet, would be burning the midnight oil to stem the crisis. However, one can only wish for that. The reality is that they are busy in political manoeuvres only to secure their interests, paying lip service to governance while comfortably living off the fat of the land. Though it was the transport price hike that initially triggered off the riots in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, they are to all intents and purposes symbolic of the popular resentment and frustration elsewhere in the country.