QUETTA  - Like other parts of the country, Balochistan is also badly suffering from prolonged loadshedding and energy crisis that has virtually destroyed agriculture, livestock and business in the province.

In order to devise a strategy to get rid of the energy crisis, Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif alongwith Chief Ministers of Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan would discuss the matter in a meeting of Council for Common Interests (CCI) which will held on Tuesday (today). Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch would leave for Islamabad on Tuesday to attend the meeting and give proposals on the part of the provincial government to end power crisis.

Sources within the provincial government said that in order to overcome energy crisis particularly in Balochistan the provincial government would call for power agreement with Iran.

The sources said that Chief Minister Dr Abdul Baloch in a meeting with Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif asked for importing 1,000 mw electricity from Iran that would cater to the energy demands of Balochistan which was over, 1600 megawatt while the province was receiving only 700 mw from national grid. They said that govt of Balochistan would also take up the issue of early completion of Loralai-G Khan 220KV and Dadu-Khuzdar 220 KV. Sources said that the Balochistan government would call for solar and wind farms projects in the country to meet some percentage of the national energy requirement through renewable energy technologies. “Gwadar and Makran Coastal belt possess prospective sites for development, installation and commissioning of wind farm projects,” they added. It may be mentioned here that Balochistan government already is implementing Rs 888 million Solar Energy Home Project under which around 300 villages in parts of the province would be electrified.

Sources said that nature had bestowed the province with immense opportunities for generation of solar, wind and geo-thermal energy ,therefore, the provincial government had already set-up Balochistan Energy Company for promotion of renewable energy which had duly been registered by SECP.

They said that the govt currently spends Rs 3b on subsidy for around 15,600 tubewells in agriculture sector and with exorbitant increase in power tariff the govt would hardly manage to continue subsidy. “The govt has a plan to convert all these tube-wells to solar-energy run at a cost of Rs 5b,” they added.

Balochistan produces over 1850 megawatt power from Uch power plant, HUBCO power plant, Habibullah Coastal Power and Sheikh Manda Thermal Power House while it gets hardly 700 megawatts from national grid.

Sources said that Chief Minister would also take up the issue of providing due share of Balochistan so that it could fulfil its energy demands.