Balochistan plans conversion of 30,000 tube wells to solar, saving Rs23bn in subsidies


ISLAMABAD: The federal and the Balochistan governments have agreed to conduct immediate feasibilities within one month’s time for the provision of solar power to 30,000 tube wells by replacing the existing conventional source of energy.

The decision was taken on Thursday in a meeting chaired by Federal Minister for Power Division Sardar Awais Ahmed Khan Laghari under the special instructions of the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Balochistan government, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning, and Power Division.

The meeting took stock of the entire spectrum of converting the existing 30,000 tube wells to solar power. The meeting also decided that Quetta Electric Supply Company (QESCO) will also prepare its technical proposal regarding smooth transition from electricity to solar power.

It was decided that both QESCO and Balochistan government will jointly prepare a workable document, spanning over the technical modalities as well as the financial proposals for installation of these tube wells within the stipulated time frame.

Sardar Awais Ahmed Khan Laghari expressing his views said that the government is paying Rs23 billion per year as a subsidy for these tube wells, and their conversion to solar power will result in relieving the burden on national exchequer. “Besides, the conversion will also lead towards ensured power supply on affordable rates to the agriculturists, yielding an increase in the productivity,” he added.

The federal minister also noted that presently these tube wells were consuming 900MW of electricity, and the conversion will lead to the saving of the electricity. He added that all illegal connections associated with these tube wells will also be exposed, allowing proper action to be taken.

“The electricity theft from these tube wells will also come to a stop,” he said.

The meeting was informed that the federal government is ready to invest in the solar tube wells and will extend all out support in this regard. This step is bound to encourage the off-grid solution for the far-flung areas of the Balochistan in the near future, the meeting was informed.