Misbahuddin Utmani

KHAR: The Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) officials have disconnected the power supply to all the filling stations of Bajaur tribal district over their refusal to install electricity metres.

The Wapda authorities say electricity metres will be installed in all the merged tribal districts and the process will start from Bajaur. Local sources said all the filling stations refused to install electricity metres after which their power supply connection was disconnected.

After the power supply disconnection, the owners of filling stations held a meeting at a filling station in Khar, the main town in Bajaur. Participants of the meeting headed by Syed Suleman said the filling station owners are not against the installation of electricity metres, but they oppose the start of the process from filling stations. Salman said the owners of filling stations will have no objection to installation of electricity metres if the same are installed in filling stations of other districts. He said they will take the local elders and political parties into confidence before taking a final decision on the issue.

Abu Bakkar, owner of a petrol pump, said while talking to TNN that electricity supply to his filling station was disconnected last week due to which he is facing massive losses. “Why the filling stations of Bajaur have been chosen for installation of electricity metres in the whole tribal districts,” he questioned.

Abu Bakkar said the petrol pumps on the main highways earn handsome amount and they can afford to pay electricity bills, but the stations situated in far off areas have low sales and they cannot afford to pay power bills.

The announcement of installation of electricity metres in Bajaur was made few days ago, but implantation could not be made due to resistance from the local population. The local people argue that the government must resolve the issue of prolonged load-shedding and low voltage in the area before installing metres.

Wapda is of the view that prolonged outages are being carried out due to power theft. It says how the usage of electricity can be determined if no metre is installed at any house. It says people will have to pay electricity bills if they want improved power supply.