Karachi: Millions of Karachiites took their first Sehri of Ramzan in pitch darkness as a vast area of the city faced major electricity outage, exposing the vulnerabilities of the privatized electricity marketing monopoly, Karachi Electric (KE), regarding its ability to cater the power needs of the mega city on smooth and dependable basis.
Social media was teemed with angry posts and acidic remarks about the KE, as well as, the government. Many citizens said they were hoping some improvement in service delivery of the KE at least in the Ramzan but the first Sehri of the holy month proved a nightmare for them in this very hot and humid weather. In this mega city, the life becomes a living hell for millions of low-income Karachiites who live in small flats and houses in congested localities whenever cruel load shedding strikes them.
Electricity shortage also resulted in acute water shortage in many localities, further compounding the miseries of citizens. Some citizens wondered if there was any purpose of paying taxes to the government when it is not able to even ensure a proper supply of basic life facilities like water and electricity. They debated that monopoly on electricity selling to Karachiites should be ended and more private companies should be allowed to buy electricity from the national grid on cheaper rates and sell them to the Karachiites on higher rates. They said some competition between profit-hungry private electricity selling companies may help in reducing tariffs and increasing electricity supply for the Karachiites.
However, it was said that a tripping of extra high-tension line near Jamshoro was responsible for the major power breakdown and not only Karachi but also some other towns and cities of Sindh were affected by it. Whatever was the reason it only exposed that the profit hungry electricity selling monopolies have not alternate plans for coping with such situations. It needs increasing electricity generation at local level, with less dependence on cheap electricity supply from the national grid.
Many citizens think it is high time to make Karachi a ‘solar city’ and thus reducing dependence on unreliable electricity supply system. They suggest that more and more houses, shops, markets, streetlights, schools, libraries, police stations, hospitals and government and private offices and workplaces should be run on cheap and environment-friendly renewable solar energy. They requested the Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair to order running the CM House and Governor House, respectively, on solar energy, making them first ‘green CM and Governor houses’ of Pakistan and it would send a very strong message and encouragement for the masses to change their priorities and prefer the cheap solar energy to highly costly and unreliable KE electricity.
Major universities like the Karachi University, DUHS and NED University of Engineering and Technology can also be turned solar and major hospitals of the city like the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC), Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK), Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH) and Qatar Hospital Orangi could also be run on solar energy of serious steps are taken at the governmental level. State Bank of Pakistan, Port Qasim, Civil Aviation Authority, Port Qasim and other major entities could also introduce solar electricity systems in the city. Sindh Secretariat buildings can also be made solar by installing solar panels on their roofs. Popular Inspector General of Sindh Police Allah Dino Khawaja can also take the courageous step to run the CPO on solar energy.