Who has an answer to my question?
I was feeling a little under the weather and so decided to come home around 3:30 pm yesterday to get some rest. Little did I know what awaited me. At exactly 4 pm, KESC decided to shut off the power and at around 4:30 a windstorm the likes of which I haven’t ever seen in Karachi, lashed the city. This was followed by rain. One of the tallest trees in our garden (planted by my nephew 12 years ago) broke in half and fell on the gate. Fortunately no-one was hurt. This is just one of many stories from across the city – hoardings falling, trees being uprooted and of course drains being blocked and power being put off. Over 44 people killed, hundreds injured.
In one statement, KESC said that the grids were turned off as a precautionary measure. In another, they claimed that one of the major feeders caught fire. Whatever the story, no-one at KESC was answering the complaints number.
Our UPS survived 7 hours after which it gave up so I turned on the generator which only lasted two hours because the chowkidaar had forgotten to refill it with fuel. Somehow from 1 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. we survived on rechargeable lights and fans after which I had to venture out to get more fuel. My father was upset that I was going out at that hour but I didn’t have an option since there was no-one else who could do it.
We are now into our 23rd hour without electricity with no inkling as to when the power will be back. The refrigerators are off as are the Air conditioners because our generator can only support lights and fans and my Mac (thank God). There is no cold water to quench my thirst.
But as I sit here whining, I wonder how the majority of people in the city who have no UPS and no generator are managing to cope. Much as we may complain about the power riots and people setting tyres on fire or pelting cars, can we really understand how it feels to be without power and water for hours and days? Two people in my neighbourhood have died today. An announcement was being made earlier. I wonder if it was because of the heat or perhaps an accident caused by electrical cables lying around on the streets or collapsing walls or a falling tree or hoarding?
Who do we take to task? Can we sue KESC? If we do, will it be any use except to make some lawyers richer and to cause ourselves further aggravation? The government tells us that the problems of this city are severe and cannot be dealt with in the short term. This particular government has been in power for almost 8 years. Granted the City Government has done some work on the infrastructure and the flyovers and underpasses have eased the traffic situation a bit (when the underpasses are not underwater that is). Previous governments have made promises but never kept them. Where do the citizens go for answers to their grievances? Or don’t they count?
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