Saturday, February 7, 2015

Day after militants blow up transmission lines, parts of Balochistan without power

By Shehzad Baloch

February 7, 2015

People walk through a street in Chaman on Saturday. As many as 16 districts of Balochistan faced loadshedding of up to 22 hours after militants blew up power pylons. 

QUETTA: The power crisis in Balochistan deepened on Saturday when major parts of the province plunged into darkness after militants blew up two 220 kVA power transmission lines in Chatter area of Dera Murad Jamali in Naseerabad district. 

“Merely 200 to 300MW electricity is being supplied to major parts of Balochistan against the total 
requirement of 1,650 MW,” an official of the National Transmission and Distribution Company (NTDC) told The Express Tribune as the power short fall in 16 districts of the province topped 1,350MW.

Officials of NTDC could not start the repair work on the two key damaged power pylons on Saturday for want of security clearance. “Unknown persons have bombed two power pylons late on Friday night. Two power pylons of 220 kVA transmission lines double circuit fell down and were completely destroyed in the explosion,” the official said, adding that once they receive security clearance, it will take three to four days for them to complete repair work.

According to NTDC, parts of the province were experiencing between 20 to 22 hours of load shedding in while Quetta was facing eight to ten hours of outages.

Naseerabad division is one of the troubled areas in Balochistan where Baloch militants have frequently targeted power pylons. In January, militants blew up the 220 kVA transmission line from the Guddu power plant which tripped the national grid and had plunged most of Pakistan into darkness.

In the past month, militants have blown up more than six power pylons in the district. While the banned Baloch Republican Army (BRA) has claimed the responsibilities for previous attacks. However, there have been no claims of responsibilities for the latest attack.

PM wants connections to tube wells restored

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday directed the Ministry of Water and Power to restore all disconnected tube-well connections in Balochistan, Radio Pakistan reported.

In turn, the ministry has issued direction to Quetta Electric Supply Company (Qesco) to immediately implement the decision.

Officials from the federal and Balochistan government are expected to meet soon and finalise the modalities for recovering arrears and payment of current bills.

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