Balochistan: revival of stoves as gas supply declines
Two young men warming up hands on a traditional stove in Quetta's Tareen road area: Photo Ashraf Khan

Balochistan: revival of stoves as gas supply declines

Editorial :

Quetta and other parts of Balochistan are under the grip of chilly weather for last more than a week. As the gas supply disappears, some parts of Quetta have seen a revival of traditional stoves. Back to woods and coal since citizens are trying to protect themselves from the harsh weather in the valley. Citizens had abandoned traditional stoves after the provision of gas supply to Quetta in the early 1980s.

In minus zero temperature, people continue to brave the chilly weather without the gas facility. The outskirts of Quetta including Sariab, Pashtoonabad, Kharotabad, Nawan Killi, Marriabad have been facing either low or no gas supply. Indeed, this compounds the problems of citizens in freezing temperatures.

Protests against low gas pressure and gas load shedding have become almost the order of the day in and around Quetta. Chilly weather has prompted the citizens to come on roads to vent their anger.

Besides Quetta, residents of Ziarat, Kalat, Mastung, Pishin, and other areas have also been braving chilly weather without the gas facility. People have opted for the revival of traditional stoves in the above-mentioned areas since the authorities are unable to provide a proper gas supply. In the evening, in most parts of the province gas supply declines that create problems especially for children and aged people.

Low gas pressure main reason behind deforestation in Ziarat, Kalat

Low or no gas pressure has resulted in deforestation in Ziarat and Kalat that house the ancient juniper trees. Residents of the two famous tourist points i.e. Ziarat and Kalat are forced to opt for cutting ancient juniper trees to brave the chilly weather. Ziarat houses the world’s second-largest juniper forest. An uninterrupted gas supply needs to be ensured to Ziarat and Kalat to protect ancient juniper trees.

The Sui Southern Gas Company’s (SSGC) prime focus is on posh areas of Quetta to avoid any pressure and appears to be least bothered about the marginalized and poor neighborhoods. The SSGC officials also claim that gas theft in Balochistan is in billions. Now the question arises, any theft without the internal support of SSGC officials seems to be impossible. The company needs to ensure transparency in its own circle as well.

Recently, the SSGC officials have disconnected fake connections and traced gas theft in various parts of Quetta. This is a praiseworthy step. But, there must be a crack-down across the board against the elements using the facility without paying bills.

The Deputy Speaker of National Assembly, Qasim Suri the other day shared the good news that the federal government has approved the Rs:1B package to address the city’s low gas pressure issue. This announcement must be followed by action before it is already late.

Balochistan: revival of stoves as gas supply declines

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Quetta Voice is an English Daily covering all unfolding political, economic and social issues relating to Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province in terms of area. QV's main focus is on stories related to education, promotion of quality education and publishing reports about out of school children in the province. QV has also a vigilant eye on health, climate change and other key sectors.