Participants in the protest organized by Shehri Awami Mahaz (SAM) have demanded the federal government and Sindh to cancel the privatization of K-Electric, close illegal hydrants operating in Karachi, and provide basic electricity and safe drinking water for the residents.
As part of its first protest, announced by SAM, a recent alliance of labor, human and social rights groups in Karachi, held a protest at Singer Chowrangi in the Korangi Industrial Zone on Monday, where participants criticized the utility electricity and water supply. for their failure to ensure an uninterrupted supply of basic facilities.
SAM will arrange the next protest at Sher Shah Chowk in West District today afternoon. Zehra Khan and Rehmat Ali, two known trade union leaders, led a large number of protesters, including people from the workers’ settlement. Protesters hold banners and placards against power cuts and water theft and chant slogans against the electricity and water mafia.
Rehmat Ali said the city’s first big problem now was drinking water shortages. “Factories in the Korangi industrial area have taken hundreds of illegal connections from waterways provided to residents of the suburbs of Karachi, especially Sharafi Goth, which greatly affect water supply to this residential area,” he said, adding that the elected city representative did not solve the problem for their own benefit. Their attitude towards people is very embarrassing while factory owners also threaten if there are complaints or protests against water theft, he said.
Comrade Gul Rehman, chairman of the Workers’ Rights Movement, said another major problem in these areas was the power outage without prior notice. “Workers in this area don’t have electricity for 10 to 12 hours because people suffer mental anguish and lose their jobs.”
Khan, who is the secretary general of the Home Workers Women’s Federation, said that under a carefully thought out plan, working class settlements were short of electricity and water.
Shabbir Khaskheli, leader of the Chashma Goth Welfare Society, said that drains in Chashma Goth and other areas had been laid, but the water did not flow mainly due to illegal connections to the main water pipes. He said there were hundreds of buffalo pens near the main water channel which had hundreds of illegal connections that prevented water from reaching residential areas.
Abdul Basit Jagrani, a leader of Garment Textile, General Workers Union, said that despite severe cargo terminations, complaints about overpayment were common. When unemployment is at an alarming stage, rising electricity prices speak volumes about the indifference of the authorities.
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