Deprived province: 59% of Balochistan without natural gas

Published: May 26, 2014
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A file photo of the Senate. PHOTO: FILE

A file photo of the Senate. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Marred by neglect and a deadly insurgency that has left Balochistan in a state of terminal chaos, the province remains the most deprived region in the country when it comes to the supply of natural gas – a resource it has in abundance.

In a startling disclosure in the upper house of parliament, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has revealed that out of the 32 District Headquarters (DHQs), only 13 towns have the natural gas facility, with 59% of the urban population in the province still without the basic energy commodity.

These details were revealed in the Senate in response to a question asked by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Karim Ahmad Khwaja. The house was informed that the country, gripped by a chronic energy crisis, faced a gas shortfall that has reached 2,000 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd).

Documents available with The Express Tribune from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources on the supply and consumption of natural gas show that Sindh contributes the highest amount of gas to the national supply chain amounting to 69% of total supply, while it consumes 45% of gas.

Conversely, Punjab supplies just 4% of gas while it consumes 43%. Similarly, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan both consume 7% each. While Balochistan adds 17% and K-P contributes 10% to the national gas supply.

Despite being the main producer of natural gas in the country, most Tehsil Headquaters (THQ) in Balochistan suffer from deprivation, with just 25 towns out of 81 being supplied with gas.

In Sindh, however, out of 121 THQs 100 have gas supply while 21 have no access. Interestingly, Punjab fares the best with 114 THQs out of 135 being supplied with gas, resulting in almost 97% of Punjab’s urban population having access to gas.

Like Balochistan, consumers in K-P remain largely without gas supply as well, making it the second most deprived province with 24 out of its 64 THQs without gas supply.

The data, which is only available for urban areas, indicates that gas supply to rural areas in less developed provinces, like Balochistan, is far worse.

Balochistan is the largest province of the country in terms of its size, the lack of resources that the province itself is abundant with has drawn severe criticism. As a result, last April, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had directed the ministry to provide natural gas to domestic consumers across the province within the next three years.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • goldconsumer
    May 26, 2014 - 8:47AM

    Three years! Man you couldnt get rid of the loadshedding in three years and yet you are making wild assumptions like your brother

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  • Usman
    May 26, 2014 - 10:07AM

    When BLA is blowing up pipelines, how can they be provided with gas? Govt. must ensure speedy gas delivery to all of Balochistan, we are with out Baloch brothers.

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  • ajeet
    May 26, 2014 - 12:31PM

    So the state that produces gas doesn’t get gas? This is worse than imperialism. This state is being treated as a colony.

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  • Waseem Sarwar
    May 26, 2014 - 1:10PM

    This is pathetic to say the least. Balochistan has the first right on all these natural resources and then state can think about providing other provinces.

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  • goldconsumer
    May 26, 2014 - 1:35PM

    @ajeet:
    Assam, Kashmir and the rest of oddly 22 separatist movements in India also say the same about her

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  • Huma
    May 26, 2014 - 1:56PM

    It is economics that determines which areas will get gas. It is not feasible to supply gas to a town of few hundred people hundreds of miles from a gas pipeline. Baluchistan is a sparsely populated area and supplying gas to all of them would cost trillions whereas they all will consume a few million rupees of gas during their lifetime. So who will fund the difference? ET should research the facts before sensationalising stories.

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  • Humayun
    May 26, 2014 - 2:16PM

    Those obvious disparities and exploitations are few of the main reasons responsible to trigger and fuel (5) insurgencies.

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  • Baloch
    May 26, 2014 - 4:14PM

    @Huma Humanity comes before economics. you talk about feasibility, the gas could reach to the all the cantonments in Balochistan but not the general population. Please guide us which economics they are following?
    P.S The term HQ here refers to the cantonment since all the civilians are out of gas except a bunch of areas in Quetta.
    @Dear Usman, BLA came on surface in early 2000, what about before that? No on blew up pipelines from 1950s to 2000, we didn’t witness any state’s will of providing gas by then. I think we past that point long time ago when everything was simply put on sardars and separatists. The Baloch surely know who the real enemy is now, its been more than 65 years :)

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  • Zaman Khan
    May 26, 2014 - 8:34PM

    It should also be known that most of this 41percent of the province which is getting gas is the northern Pashtun region of the province. A small population of Brohi Baloch is getting gas in the Kalat region. The real Balochs–the Balochi-speaking Balochs—are not getting any gas at all’ while infact the gas reserves are from the Baloch region only. Isn’t it shocking?

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  • Mir Chakar Khan
    May 26, 2014 - 8:48PM

    Punjabi thieves.Independence is the sole way to get our fair share.

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  • Quetta
    May 26, 2014 - 9:13PM

    I agree with Mr. Baloch on some points but not all.

    @ Ms. Huma, the point of discussion here is the supply of basic rights to the general public by the Government not the demand and supply for economic activity. For you information, Sui is a sub district of Dera Bugti, Natural Gas was discovered here in 1952, In the early 1990s, it remained the nation’s most productive gas field, accounting for 46 percent of production in FY 1993. But unfortunately till date, Dera Bugti is not supplied Natural Gas. Does it mean that there is no demand for this basic necessity? Quetta, the Provincial Capital of Balochistan, was the first city of this province to get the supply of natural gas and it was supplied gas in 1979.

    @ Mr. Baloch, the term used was THQ (Tehsil Head Quarter) but you interpreted it as Head Quarter and cantonments only :P

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  • Quetta
    May 26, 2014 - 9:14PM

    I agree with Mr. Baloch on some points but not all.
    @ Ms. Huma, the point of discussion here is the supply of basic rights to the general public by the Government not the demand and supply for economic activity. For you information, Sui is a sub district of Dera Bugti, Natural Gas was discovered here in 1952, In the early 1990s, it remained the nation’s most productive gas field, accounting for 46 percent of production in FY 1993. But unfortunately till date, Dera Bugti is not supplied Natural Gas. Does it mean that there is no demand for this basic necessity? Quetta, the Provincial Capital of Balochistan, was the first city of this province to get the supply of natural gas and it was supplied gas in 1979.
    @ Mr. Baloch, the term used was THQ (Tehsil Head Quarter) but you interpreted it as Head Quarter and cantonments only :P

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