The Supreme Court has ordered the Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) to form committees and subcommittees to resolve disputes with the K-electric, a private firm providing electricity to the city of Karachi. A two-member Supreme Court bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial heard the suit for recovery of Accounts between KMC and K-electric. According to reports, the KMC did not pay its electricity bills to K-Electric, and the Sindh Government paid Rs. 433 million to K-Electric on Court’s order, whereas Rs. 936 million are still pending.
In fact, the K-Electric and Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) were in a dispute on the issue of non-payment of electricity bills during the last several years. After serving several notices, K-Electric filed a case in the Supreme Court in early 2019, that KMC owed its Rs. 4.11 billion against electricity bills. The Supreme Court ordered the Sindh Government to pay all the arrears payable to K-E, whereas KMC was directed to pay its monthly bill from April 2019. In pursuant to the court’s order, the Sindh government paid only Rs. 433 million to KE. K-Electric cut the power supply of dozens of KMC buildings in July 2019 due to nonpayment of the remaining amount. KMC reacted swiftly and bulldozed various KE installations on its land and stopped K-Elect from digging the government land for its projects without permission. The KMC authorities maintained that K-Electric did not pay the rent of cables and poles from 1982 to 1998 amounting to Rs. 7 billion. However, the electricity of KMC’s buildings was restored by the K-Elect on the directions of the Supreme Court after a week. According to reports, KMC and K-Electric constituted a committee to resolve the issue of payment of electric bills under a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
Historically, KMC was a profitable institution over the decades because it was the sole administrator of the largest industrial city of the country. Most of the time affairs of the city have been run by the administrators appointed by the provincial governments. History reveals that no political party ruling the province accepted that Country’s megacity be ruled by its rival. Due to this reason Karachi remained a victim of political rivalry between the parties. PPP being the largest party in the province could not manage to win the mayorship of Karachi over the years. During the 2016 local election, MQM candidate Waseem Akhtar won the slot of Mayor of Karachi.
The waning days of the Karachiites kicked off that day. The political rivalry of PPP and MQM created grave administrative problems for the Karachiites during the five-year term of Waseem Akhtar in office. The PPP government in Sindh not only reduced funds for KMC but also made huge cuts on revenue generation of the KMC through legislation. PPP installed its own administrator in the city and things started improving. Currently KMC and K-Electric are considering an agreement under which KMC would collect taxes through K-Electric monthly bills and hope for collection of Rs 9 billion annually. In fact, the political rivalry of the two major parties had turned the city into a havoc for years, however the public must denounce this behavior and hold them accountable for such mischievous actions to fulfill their condemnable designs.