Energy woes: Over half of Balochistan still in the dark

Some 17 districts without electricity after saboteurs blew up four pylons.

Mohammad Zafar July 22, 2013
17 districts were reportedly without electricity. DESIGN: FAIZAN SETHI/FILE

QUETTA: Seventeen districts of Balochistan have been without electricity since Thursday night, when unidentified saboteurs blew up four pylons in Bolan district.

Although, after much delay, the National Transmission and Dispatch Company started repair work on the pylons on Sunday, authorities said that it would take at least three more days to restore power to the affected districts, which include Quetta, Kalat, Khuzdar, Zhob, Bolan and Sibi, among others.

Residents of the affected districts have been facing extreme difficulties due to the prolonged disruption of power, with many unable to obtain water for domestic use. Even though local authorities have managed to arrange alternative power sources, they are unable to provide electricity for more than two hours a day in most of the affected districts.

According to Officials of the Quetta Electric Supply Company (Qesco), the demand of the entire province, minus the Makran division, is 1,600MW. Against that, they can currently arrange 380MW. They said the provincial capital – where the situation is considerably better – is receiving its power supply from independent producers Habibullah Coastal Power and Sheikh Manda Thermal Power House.

Qesco officials said repair work was delayed since authorities were awaiting clearance from the provincial government.

Leaders of public opinion have condemned authorities for deliberately delaying the clearance for repair work. They accused the authorities of discrimination against the people of Balochistan, saying they were being ‘punished’ for the destruction of the power pylons.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2013.