The Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) has issued notices to as many as 650 people for ‘unlawfully’ constructing houses and the buildings for various uses under the high voltage lines emanating from grid stations for power distribution to consumers.
The Lesco issued notices to the people in the areas of Lahore, Kasur, Sheikhupura, Nankana and Okara keeping in view various fatal/non-fatal incidents of electrocution being reported frequently. The company may also issue similar notices to hundreds of more such people in near future, Dawn has learnt.
“Unfortunately, the land grabbers have even sold the land, acquired by the government in the past for laying of transmission lines, to the people in the form of plots existing under the wires. Since the rate of such land/plots is considerably cheaper than those cleared of obstacles, the people belonging to lower-middle-class opted for them,” Lesco General Manager Zafar Iqbal told Dawn on Sunday.
Mr Iqbal said the frequent incidents of electrocution in Lahore and other service areas finally forced the company to go for this action. He said the notices are not limited to construction of houses/buildings under the lines but to those [as well] who have encroached the land either by extending their buildings’ shades close to wires passing on front or taking their structures’ height to a level close to the wires.
“Through notices, we have directed the people to dismantle the structures and make them as per approved maps so as to reduce incidents,” he added.
“But it would be difficult for us to get the land cleared of such structures. However, our action may be helpful in controlling such constructions and reducing incidents,” he said while responding to a question.
It merits mentioning that none of the departments – power distribution companies (Discos), NTDC, revenue, metropolitan/municipal corporation, town municipal administrations etc – took any action in the past for discouraging constructions under the transmission lines or those reaching closed to the lines through heights or extending front elevation.
This attitude enabled the land mafia to illegally occupy such pieces of land, sell and transfer them to the innocent people in the revenue record illegally at cheaper rates in connivance with the officials concerned (patwari, tehsildars, sub-registrars etc.,) not only in Lahore but also in other major cities across the country.
“The people must avoid buying or occupying such properties since these, absolutely, have no worth. Moreover, buying such property also puts their lives at risk,” Mr Iqbal said, adding that the company has also launched a drive to create awareness among the people in this regard.
Meanwhile, according to a press release issued on Sunday, the company has added 132kV new transmission lines measuring 3,110 km in the distribution system during the last couple of years.
Moreover upgrade of system with addition of new transformers and equipment, 11kV feeders etc., has also been done in a bid to provide uninterrupted electricity to millions of consumers.