Islamabad: The recent rains in Karachi have exposed the claims of restoration of civic and municipal facilities by the provincial and the city governments.

According to a presentation by the officials of Karachi Electric (KE), the private power distribution company that supplies electricity to Karachi, people continue to link their houses and workplaces with high powered transmissions through iron bars (kunda).

This illegal act not only causes loss to KE and the national exchequer, in rainy season it results in accidents and deaths.

200,000 Kg iron bars used as kunda removed from system

In the last six months, some 200,000 kg of iron bars were removed from KE system, the Senate body was informed. Another reason that caused loss of around 35 human lives in Karachi is presence of cable-TV and optical fibre wires on the KE electricity poles. Again the KE officials said it is something that only happens in Pakistan that cable TV and optical fibre is connected through electricity poles while all over the world they are laid underground.

100,000 km cable and internet wire present on KE poles

According to an estimate, such wires of around 100,000 km length are causing deaths and disconnection of services in Karachi particularly during rainy season.

Flanked by senior officials of KE including Chief Distribution Officer Amer Zia, Director Govt-KE relations Sajjad Asghar Khan Shahani and others Sehgal said a standard operational procedure (SOP) was in place in the company’s system to ensure safety of people’s lives throughout the year while extra caution is observed in rainy season.

Out of 35 deaths that occurred during July 29-31 and August 10-12 this year, KE is being held responsible for 19.

Our inquiry is under process according to which death of eight persons may be caused by KE system fault or failure, in six deaths KE was not involved, one was purely an accident.

Ikram Sehgal said KE was providing electricity to a city of 250 million people, a city that is unplanned (40pc of Karachi is built without proper designing or planning) and kunda mafia is ruling most of those unplanned semi-urban areas of the city.

According to Amer Zia Chief Distribution Officer KE is supplying electricity to 3 million connections while more than 300,000 to 500,000 kundas were being used (16 pc of total electricity) for illegal connections and in rainy season these kunda contribute majority of fatal and non-fatal accidents.

According to Mr Amer Zia KE is working on a mega plan of introducing ABC (Aerial Bundle Conductors) system that guarantees zero accidents or theft incidents.

Ikram Sehgal informed the committee that cable network and water and sewerage system were the major factors for cause of deaths during rains in Karachi, said he.

Sehgal further said majority of the incidents occurred inside homes because of either the faulty wiring or unsafe use of electrical equipment. He that non-KE infrastructure such as kundas and TV/internet cables encroached on power installations and hanging lights were beyond the control of KE.

He said KE was far behind other distributing companies in terms of fatal and non-fatal incidents difference only is they are under reported.

Director General National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) Nadir Ali Khoso on this occasion said NEPRA had developed a proforma that binds all distributing companies (Discos) to bring to Authority’s notice such deaths caused by rain or faulty system. Chairman of the Standing Committee directed the NEPRA representative to submit a comparative report.

He also suggested the committee members to visit Karachi and see by themselves on ground situation there.