The people of Makran had to face severe power outage in the midst of July and August, 2018 when electricity supply of 80MW from Iran abruptly came to a halt. Iran has supplied electricity to the division since September 2003, while entering into an agreement with Pakistan. Between 2003 and 2013, Iran supplied 35MW of electricity per day. However, during former Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik’s tenure the amount was amplified from 35MW to 100MW.

It should be borne in mind that Makran and its surrounding areas experience extremely hot summers and the locals are comforted with the only thought that they have some solace at their disposal in the shape of a steady connection of electricity. Nonetheless, the recent power outage made life exceptionally despondent. It jolted the area economically as major businesses depending on electricity were hit hard and suffered huge financial losses.

The power outage gave rise to a number of speculations in regard to the real cause behind the lack of electricity supply. Some were of the view that Pakistan has been unable to pay its electricity dues causing the abrupt power outage, while others maintained that the supply was constant from Iran but had been constrained by local authorities indulging in load-shedding.

A certain section of the populace saw it as a political maneuver to deprive certain politicians of massive revenue that they garner from the businesses being run by them, fueled by the supply of electricity. They were of the view that it would ensure that the public would go out and vote in their consternation, back in the month of July.

Furthermore, some independent sources claim that the problem stemmed from a massive power shortage in Iran itself as it was supplying electricity to many neighbouring countries, along with Pakistan’s province Balochistan. Certain technical failures in the operating machinery caused the supply demands to come to a standstill. Others asserted that the energy needs of Iran has risen recently and a particularly hot summer had forced to impose a cut on its power supply to other countries.

Notwithstanding all conjectures, the lack of electricity put the people of the region i.e. Turbat, Panjgoor and Gwadar under a lot of strain. The crisis affected the Makran region economically and caused upset to major businesses causing great financial drawbacks.

The government of Pakistan has to look towards the long term solution of this issue to effectively stop its recurrence in the future. Recently, in talks was the idea that the 7.5 megawatt power plant in Gwadar should be completed at the earliest disposal with the help of China who has offered to provide 7.5 megawatt of electricity through big generators, demanding furnace oil worth Rs5 million every day. However, it follows that the price of electricity per unit will reach up to Rs30 which is not apposite to afford.

The ideal solution would be to connect Makran division to the national grid as soon as possible, under the power division to take effective steps. The country has to end its dependence on Iran or China for power supply otherwise the issue could recur with greater strength in near future, causing all sorts of distress for the general public.


About Author

Leena Shah Mir is a freelance analyst from Gwadar, Balochistan.


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