LAHORE - All hydel power generation units at the Mangla Dam with a capacity of about 1,100 megawatts suspended their operations, which combined with less production by major thermal plants augmented power scarcity to the alarming level of over 5,000 megawatt, sparking riots all over the province including the provincial capital. Amidst the huge shortfall of at least 5,000 megawatt, people were forced to live in a real hell as scorching weather and Pepco on Monday joined hands to test the nerves of the people, facing power outages after every 60 minutes. According to sources, all power generating units at Mangla Dam stopped functioning owing to some technical fault, plunging several areas of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and many cities of the upper Punjab into darkness. They revealed that power units closed down due to faults in the control and power cables while some of them had also caught fire. They have, however, stated that the said powerhouses are safe and would be supplying power soon after the damaged control and replacement of power cables. They further said that the cables that caught fire were about over 40 years old and were already in the process of replacement under a phased programme. During, the process, some of the wires caught fire and became unserviceable, causing the breakdown of power units at the dam, they added. Sources further maintained that the closure created a shortfall of about 1,100 MW due to which power supply to Gujrat, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Jhelum, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and other areas remained suspended. According to sources, the overall shortfall of electricity across the country has now climbed up to at least 5,000 Megawatts, as the thermal powerhouses production had already dipped alarmingly low due to suspension of fuel supply and gas cut because of the financial constraints. The thermal plants were generating around half of their capacity, they said, adding that the total capacity of these units was 4000 megawatt of electricity, but the existing production stood less than 2,500 megawatt. They said due to non-payments, Sui Northern Gas Company (SNGPL) was supplying around 30 million cubic feet of gas daily to the power plants instead of the usual over 300 million cubic feet. According to the information provided to The Nation, Kot Addu Power Company has the generation capacity of about 1,700MW, but due to short supply of gas only 400 megawatt of electricity is being generated. And other IPPs are also facing the same dilemma. On the other hand, Pepco sources say power demand and supply gap touching the level of 4,000 megawatt for the last four days, extended further to reach the figure of over 5,000 because of Mangla power plants shutdown, as demand crossed 16,000 megawatt while supply was around 11,000 megawatt partly due to cut in Mangla hydel generation and mainly because of reduced power generation by IPPs due to non-payment which was due in June. They further revealed that the total number of IPPs was 18 with an installed capacity of 5,905.81 megawatt and earlier on, the Pepco was getting 5,654.44 megawatt from them. But now due to the financial crisis, the IPPs were producing at half of their ability and on Friday the IPPs further cut their power generation by another 200 megawatts, they added. Meanwhile, the Pepco officials have claimed that electric supply is restored to around 40 per cent areas and efforts are being made to supply electricity to other neighbourhoods. Similarly, a press release issued by Wapda has stated said rehabilitation work was undertaken in the supervision of senior Wapda and Pepco officers immediately after the incident. The statement further said the power loss due to closure of Mangla Power House was being tried to be compensated through full thermal usage and some extra hydel power generation. Supply of additional gas was also being arranged for the thermal power stations, it added. It is important to note that better water inflow would help in increasing daily hydel production by 100 to 150 megawatts at Tarbela Dam. OUR STAFF REPORTERS add: Seemingly unending power crisis continued to hit across Punjab and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, forcing citizens to stage protest demonstrations at many places. The scheduled and unscheduled loadshedding added to the miseries of the people who came out on the streets and burned tires to show their anger in many cities and towns in the province. In Gujrat, angry protestors demonstrated at the Prince Chowk, while lawyers and civil society organisations held protest demonstrations in Sialkot. In Multan, the Power Looms Association Pakistan has announced countrywide protests against long power outages and proposed increase in its tariff. Anjuman Tajran (Sher Group), in the textile city of Faisalabad, staged a hunger-strike camp at the Clock Tower Square. Large number of traders participated in the hunger-strike camp despite of the severe weather. They chanting slogans against loadshedding, increment in electricity tariff, removal of self-assessment scheme and imposition of B-40 for traders with revenue department in the federal budget and imposition of other heavy taxes. In Arifwala, members of the tehsil Bar also organised a token hunger-strike against 18-hour long unscheduled loadshedding in the area. They demanded immediate resignation of Raja Pervaiz Ashraf for his failure to tackle the situation. Similarly, unannounced loadshedding resulted in demonstrations in several areas of Dera Ghazi Khan, as the traders and common citizens blocked Quaid-e-Azam Road near Golai Committee and burnt tyres. A large number of shopkeepers also gathered at Pir Qatal Road near Fawara Chowk and blocked adjoining roads for several hours. Meanwhile, people took out a rally that started from Ghanta Ghar Chowk and culminated at Kalma Chowk where they shouted slogans against Wapda officials for their alleged discrimination with Dera Ghazi Khan District. Angry citizens also reacted violently in Vehari where traders observed a complete shutterdown and took a really against governments inability to deliver its promises. They burnt tyres, destroyed boards erected outside Mepco offices and set on fire the effigies of high-ups. Same was the situation in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, where Mangla Dam is located, as large part of the state including the districts of Mirpur, Kotli, Bagh and Rawalakot, besides some parts of Rawalpindi, experienced complete darkness as a result of sudden breakdown of Mangla power units on Sunday night. People especially patients, children including infants spent the night without sleep due to scorching heat. Patients admitted in the hospitals were the main victims as they spent the time facing mental and physical torture because of the lack of alternative power supply arrangements. People took to streets at various localities for lodging express protest against government apathy.