ISLAMABAD: The federal government is considering to provide a solace of Rs44 billion to Balochistan for another two years in the head of agriculture tube wells subsidy. “Though the government has braved the huge loss of Rs170 billion on account of subsidy and almost less than 5 percent recovery of billed amount spent on supply of electricity to agriculture tube wells, even then the government has no choice but to extend the subsidy for another two years,” a senior official of Ministry of Water and Power told The News.

“We are in the process of preparing a summary for approval by Economic Coordination Committee (ECC),” the official said and added that Balochistan government has since long been exerting pressure for the continuation of the subsidy for two years more.

Now the federal government has decided to accept the demand of the provincial government arguing if it is not entertained then there is a strong fear of political backlash in Balochistan and the people of the province will take to streets and block them and the situation is feared to worsen particularly when the operation is underway in Balochistan against the militants, the government will not give any opportunity to the separatist forces in the province to exploit this issue.

However, the official said, if we go by the book, such kinds of subsidies create distortions in the economy which is being improved with a lot of struggle by the Nawaz government. To a question, the official said that the agriculture tube wells subsidy from the central government which at one time stood at Rs75 billion has jacked up to Rs175 billion.

Currently the share of Central and Balochistan governments in the subsidy on agriculture tube wells stands at 60:40 ratio respectively. The government, however, is trying from pillar to post to convert agriculture tub wells to solar system and in case the dream is fulfilled then the government will be no part of any subsidy to the agriculture tube wells in any federating unit.

However, it is pertinent to mention that in a province like Balochistan, water table has gone down deep into the earth and water is virtually being pulled out through mining owing to which the cost of pulling out the water has increased manifold. There is dire need to build small dams and check reservoirs in the province to recharge the ground water.

Source: The News


About Author

Leave A Reply