Don't wear socks, hot Pakistanis told amid power crisis

ISLAMABAD Mon May 20, 2013 4:19pm IST

A technician is silhouetted as he works on power lines supplying electricity in the outskirts of Lahore January 31, 2012. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza

A technician is silhouetted as he works on power lines supplying electricity in the outskirts of Lahore January 31, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mohsin Raza

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan has told civil servants not to wear socks as the country turns off air-conditioners amid a chronic power crisis and soaring temperatures.

The government has turned off all air-conditioning in its offices as the country endures blackouts of up to 20 hours a day in some places.

"There shall be no more use of air-conditioners in public offices till such time that substantial improvement in the energy situation takes place," a cabinet directive said.

As part of a new dress code, moccasins or sandals must be worn without socks.

The power shortages have sparked violent protests and crippled key industries, costing hundreds of thousands of jobs in a country already beset by high unemployment, a failing economy, widespread poverty and a Taliban insurgency.

The "load-shedding" means many families cannot pump water, let alone run air-conditioners, with a disastrous knock-on effect on health and domestic life.

Frustration over the power cuts contributed to the former ruling party's poor showing in a May 11 general election.

Two ministers in charge of water and power explained what can be done to end power cuts in parts of the country enduring temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius and above - absolutely nothing, it seems, except raise prices.

Ministers Musadiq Malik and Sohail Wajahat Siddiqui "expressed their inability to overcome the crisis", the Daily Times quoted them as telling a news conference in Lahore, where the temperature was 40 C on Monday.

"They have termed financial constraints as a major, and incompetence as a minor, hurdle in resolving the issue," the newspaper said.

"Presenting the realistic picture, the ministers announced that they were going to increase the price of electricity and gas for all sectors."

They gave no details but said the problem would get worse before it gets better.

About two-thirds of Pakistan's energy is generated by oil and gas and there are widespread gas shortages, with cars run by CNG, compressed natural gas, queuing up for hours overnight to fill their tanks.

(Reporting by Nick Macfie; Editing by Robert Birsel)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Healthcare Corruption

TOP SHOWCASE

Tihar Food Court

Tihar Food Court

Restaurant run by Tihar convicts wins praise for politeness, hygiene.  Full Article 

Repaying Investors

Repaying Investors

Supreme Court could allow Sahara boss to conduct asset sale talks, company says.  Full Article 

Reuters Exclusive

Reuters Exclusive

Lupin, U.S. firms weigh bids for GSK's mature drugs: sources.  Full Article 

Apple Results

Apple Results

Apple revenue lags Street's view despite strong China growth  Full Article | Full Coverage 

Female Foeticide

Female Foeticide

India faces crisis over dwindling numbers of girls, U.N. says.  Full Article 

No Ceasefire

No Ceasefire

Israel pounds Gaza despite international peace efforts.  Full Article 

Final Journey

Final Journey

Train carrying MH17 bodies on final journey reaches Ukraine city.  Full Article 

Transfer Season

Transfer Season

Real Madrid sign Colombian Rodriguez.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage