K-Electric's alleged negligence, dilapidated network cost 19 lives, including 6 children

KARACHI: Alleged negligence and dilapidated network of the port city’s sole power supplier, K-Electric (KE), cost at least 19 lives, including those of six children, after heavy rain lashed the metropolis after a long dry spell.

The children died after being electrocuted to death; they were hit by the fatal electric shock as they cycled in a North Nazimabad neighbourhood where messy, high-powered naked wires and electric poles are common.

Among the six children were friends and neighbours Ahmed and Abir; the former loved reciting naats, the latter playing football. Both were laid to rest in a local graveyard.

Police, however, refused to register a first information report (FIR) against KE.

At least 13 others, too, were electrocuted to death over the past three days as rainwater inundated several parts of the densely-populated metropolis following a two-day spell of torrential rain.

On the other hand, Sindh government announced to compensate the bereaved families. Further, Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani hinted that the provincial leadership might take legal action against the KE for the recent deaths from electrocution.

Speaking to reporters, Ghani held the federal and local governments responsible for the chaos that had arisen in the city following torrential rains.

“As far as action against K-Electric is concerned, the Sindh government has no such mechanism [to act against it], and the federal government should do what it can,” he said.

“But as far as the loss of lives [due to electrocution] is concerned, definitely on that — but I won’t go into detail on this right now — the provincial government will take action on this according to the law.

“We will take whatever action that we can take,” he said, pointing towards the likelihood of legal action against the electricity provider.

Ghani said the local government should be dissolved if every task was to be done by the provincial government. “We will do it,” the agitated minister said, adding that the water could not be pumped out of the inundated areas within a day.

“The responsibility to clear 38 big nullahs of the city falls on the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and 200 smaller nullahs fall under the jurisdiction of the District Municipal Corporation,” he said.

Lath Dam overflows

The KE had earlier in the day said Lath Dam overflowing had created a critical situation at KDA Grid 33, causing a major breakdown in the metropolis.

In a series of tweets, the power supply company had said the monsoon downpour on Monday and Tuesday caused the dam near Super Highway to overflow.

As an emergency safety measure following the overflow, the KE was compelled to suspend supply to feeders associated with the grid, forcing power outages in Sohrab Goth, Abulhassan Isphahani Road, Super Highway, and KWSB’s NEK Pumping station, among a few others.

The KE had noted that the power supply would be affected in several areas, including Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Azizabad, Liaquatabad, Malir, F.B. Area, Surjani Town, Shadman, Gulistan-e-Johar, and Shah Faisal Colony.

However, work to remove water from the grid station commenced again in the morning to restore the power supply disruption caused by monsoon downpour in most parts of the city.

The lack of the required drain system chocked with garbage, along with shattered sewage system, with many roads and low-lying areas submerged under rainwater.