KARACHI 3rd July: The power outage at the Old Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) Building, the KMC head office, continued for the fifth day on Tuesday. The rift between K-Electric and KMC continues as the former claims that the KMC owes it Rs4.11 billion in arrears and that the Supreme Court had directed the latter to start paying monthly electricity bills from April 2019 onwards. The KMC, for its part, alleges that the KE has ignored the orders of the apex court. According to Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar, it is the Sindh government that is liable to pay arrears of Rs580m as per SC’s directives while KMC is only liable to pay monthly bills from April 2019.
Adding fuel to the fire, on Friday morning at 5am, KE cut off 71 electricity connections, including the one supplying power to KMC’s head office. KMC’s budget session which was to be held on Friday at the Old KMC Building was then convened at Sabzazar Park instead of the City Council Hall due to the power outage.
The conflict remains unresolved despite the passage of five days while all affairs of KMC have come to a halt. The payment of employees’ salaries for the month of June has been delayed as has the pension of 22,000 retired employees which is paid on the first of every month. KMC claims bills can’t be printed due to the power outage. Besides, retired KMC employees live in different cities of the country and their pension is usually transferred to their bank accounts in those cities but the transactions couldn’t be made as the KMC’s system remains disrupted.
The KMC has not remained silent on the matter either and has adopted an aggressive policy. It has reportedly begun razing KE buildings and connections present on land owned by the KMC. The local body’s anti-encroachment department has demolished the boundary walls of KE’s office in Shaheen Complex and razed various connections and installations at Sharae Quaideen and Nagan Chowrangi.
The metropolitan corporation claims that KE is also a defaulter of KMC and owes it millions of rupees. KMC maintains that the KE has established power stations, installed electricity poles and other connections on KMC lands. The argument, reportedly, is that the KMC has resolved that the power utility should pay rent for using KMC’s land or all its structures built in those areas will be demolished. Besides, the local body says it will not permit KE to dig up roads for electricity connections in any area of the city.