The Sindh government on Friday announced it is limiting the operating hours of markets, shopping malls, wedding halls, and restaurants for a month to conserve electricity during the ongoing “energy crisis emergency,” Dawn reported.
According to a notification issued by Home Secretary Dr. Saeed Ahmed Mangnejo, all markets, bazaars, shops, and malls will close by 9 pm.
Wedding and banquet halls will close by 10:30 pm, while hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, and cafes must shut by 11 pm.
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But the new order does not extend to medical stores, pharmacies, hospitals, petrol pumps, CNG stations, bakeries, and milk shops.
The new rule will go into effect from 5 pm on June 17 (today) to July 16.
The notification said the measures were required to reduce the shortfall between demand and supply of electricity.
It noted that the Federal Cabinet on June 7 decided to take adequate measures to reduce load-shedding hours through conservation of the energy and prevent and to prevent and minimise the impacts of anticipated energy shortfall in the country through a National Strategy.
The notification said it was therefore “necessary and expedient to enforce certain restrictions in order to control increasing shortfall between the energy generation and its utilisation, so that this prevalent emergency of the energy shortfall may be controlled, which otherwise could have long term and multi-sectoral impacts on the lives of the general public of the Sindh province.”
The notification authorised Station House Officers (SHOs) to register complaints under section 188 of the Pakistan Penal Code against people who violated Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Court.
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It said that action against such people could also be taken under section 33 of the National Disaster Management Authority Act 2010 by the respective District Administration.
There have been reports of hours-long load-shedding across the country, leaving the people to suffer in high temperatures.
The incumbent government has blamed its predecessor PTI for the energy shortfall.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had, on June 4, sought an ’emergency plan’ to end load-shedding.
Meanwhile, K-Electric, the provincial capital’s power utility, had announced that it would carry out three hours of load-shedding daily in the city’s so-called exempted, or low-loss, areas.
With input from Dawn