Lahore   -  There is not a single district in Punjab where electricity is not being stolen. According to data of the provincial energy department and task force, 1,464 domestic theft complaints were reported in a month (October 13- November 17). Most of the cases surfaced in southern Punjab.

A total of 1,725 cases – including 1,661 domestic, 51 commercial, 22 agricultural and 14 industrial – were detected in Multan, RY Khan, Muzaffargarh, Vehari, Bahawalnagar, Rajanpur and Bahawalpur.

As many as 331 cases were reported in Multan, 267 in RY Khan, 260 in Muzaffargarh, 262 in DG Khan, 182 in Lahore, 152 in Vehari, 138 in Rajanpur, 132 in Bahawalnagar and 119 in Rajanpur.

Of 1542, 1167 complaints were made to police while 660 were booked.

In other districts, just 13 FIRs on 201 complaints could be registered.  Just 206 case were reported in Toba Tek Singh, Nankana Sahib, Khushab, Bhakkar, Jhang, Chiniot, Gujrat and Sheikhupura where the districts task forces, according to the date, could not work properly. The task force maintains data on a daily weekly basis.

The task force members complained that even registered FIRs did not “match their complaints”.

However, police spokesperson Nabeela Ghazanfar said there is a procedure to get an FIA registered and after thorough investigation, police register the case.

“Police are fully participating in the campaign against power theft,” she added.

An energy department official said that the matter was taken up at a task force meeting and an Additional IG, who is also a force member, had vowed to book the pilfers as soon as possible.

Punjab Chief Secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar, who had also served as federal secretary of water and power along with incumbent power secretary Irfan Ali, had constituted a provincial taskforce to launch the campaign. The taskforce was headed by the provincial energy secretary to take measures to curb power theft, besides monitoring the performance of divisional and district committees.

Many meetings have so far been held to control power theft. Khokhar also directed the divisional commissioners to cooperate with the force in drive against electricity theft.

Power Division Secretary Irfan Ali claimed to have controlled line losses and power theft that were the main reasons for circular debt in the power sector.