This article was submitted to Team ProperGaanda by Aaish Zia, a student in Karachi.
The monsoon season is upon us again. Yet for a city plagued by continuous hot weather, this supposedly refreshing treat is actually a perilous threat.
Karachi is far from equipped to handle heavy rain – or really anything more than a drizzle. Within a few hours, roads are flooded and traffic is jammed. It’s not uncommon to see cars stopped on the roadside, engines smoking and distressed families calling for help.
Yet, the most dangerous threat lingers hidden – electrocution. This month alone, at least five people were electrocuted to death. Last year, this number was as high as 40.
The culprit is K-electric. The mass power utility is well-known for its negligence. One of the deaths this month was of a 50-year-old man struck by a falling wire while on a motorcycle. Furthermore, the company is already locked in a legal battle for 19 of the 40 deaths which occurred last year.
It is interesting to note that most deaths due to electrocution happen in low-income areas. Why is it that some children can play in the rain and go home to warm pakoras, while others to electrocution?
K-Electric’s solution is, of course, equally genius. Instead of repairing wires, tripped feeders, faulty transformers, and more, the company instead elected to shut off power to these areas altogether, resulting in load-shedding of often more than 30 hours – or at least until the roads are dry again.
The company itself is not safe, with multiple pole mounted transformers (PMTs) having caught fire this month. When a company does not value its buildings, let alone employees, citizens cannot trust it to not endanger them, especially when it refuses to take responsibility. The obvious economic divide between ‘safe’ and ‘burned with 11,000 Volts’ makes it clear that K-Electric thinks that some lives are worth less than others.
However, the problem does not lie with it alone. It is the provincial government’s responsibility to provide funds for regular cleaning and repair of drainage sewers, and timely drainage in event of heavy rain to prevent water accumulation around electric poles. The citizens of Karachi need to urge their government to take strict action, and protect every citizen, regardless of their financial status.
The views expressed in this article it are solely the author’s and do not reflect in any way the views of ProperGaanda.
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