QUETTA: Power outages were discussed in the Balochistan Assembly again on Thursday as members registered their protests against electricity cuts and demanded the issue be “overcome immediately.”
Habibur-Rehman Mohammad Hasani raised the issue of power outages on a point of order, saying that around 23 hours of load shedding had been carried out in Kharan and Washuk districts for the past several days. Minister for Power & Irrigation Sardar Aslam Bizenjo said prolonged power outages had initially been justified on grounds that nine power pylons had been destroyed in Naseerabad. However, he pointed out that these pylons still had not been repaired 27days after they had been damaged.
Bizenjo alleged that this was a “pre-planned effort to divert electricity from Balochistan” so that needs of other provinces could be met. “If initiatives had been taken to construct the Dado-Khuzdar Transmission Line, people in this province would not suffer losses due to massive power outages,” he complained. Other lawmakers including Jaffar Mandokhel, Saleem Khosa, Nasrin Ketran, Haji Nawaz Akhwandzada, Dr. Fozia Marri, Zahoor Bualedi also spoke out against massive load shedding in the province, saying that 60 per cent of the people in Balochistan depended on agriculture for their livelihood, which was being destroyed by load shedding.
The ministers also presented several suggestions to resolve the issue, with Sayed Ehsan Shah saying that the government should take up the issue of electricity provision with Iran. The speaker of the house asked the provincial government to take the issue up with the center so that Balochistan’s agriculture sector could be spared irreparable losses. The house also discussed other issues, with senior minister Maulana Wasay criticising security operations in the region. “These operations did not ensure the protection of government installations; they brought about more difficulties for the people,” he said.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 14th, 2010.