File photo: Chief Minister Balochistan, Mir Sarfaraz Bugti talking to reporters in Gwadar: Photo taken from a video shared by DGPR

Manan Mandokhail:

QUETTA: In the midst of escalating tensions over unannounced load shedding, the Growers’ Community in Balochistan has taken to the streets in protest and blocked main assembly chowk. The protest prompted Chief Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti to meet the growers community.

In a pivotal move, a delegation from the ZAC, under the leadership of Malik Naseer Shahwani, called on Balochistan’s Chief Minister, Mir Sarfaraz Bugti. The meeting served as a platform to address the pressing issue of irregular power supply that has gravely impacted the agricultural sector.

Chief Minister Bugti assured in reaching out to Federal Minister WAPDA and other federal authorities via telephonic contact, stressing the urgent need for adherence to the previously agreed upon eight-hour electricity supply. The discussions underscored the necessity for a permanent solution to the subsidy problems exacerbating the electricity crisis in the province.

Acknowledging the dire circumstances faced by the farming community, Chief Minister Bugti pledged immediate financial assistance to restore electricity for thousands of families dependent on agriculture. “The present provincial government has allocated two billion rupees towards this endeavor, with an additional two billion on the horizon,” affirmed Chief Minister Bugti.

However, he cautioned that even allocating the entire development budget as subsidy might not suffice to resolve the electrical woes. Emphasizing the magnitude of the challenge, Chief Minister Bugti highlighted the staggering requirement of 75 billion rupees for the solarization of 28 thousand tube wells in the region.

In a bid to expedite relief measures, Chief Minister Bugti announced plans to liaise with the federal government for assistance. A delegation of assembly members is slated to meet with the Prime Minister to advocate for the growers’ cause.

Furthermore, in a proactive stance, Chief Minister Bugti instructed customs police and law enforcement agencies to facilitate the transportation of solar panels, a critical step towards solarizing tube wells and mitigating dependency on conventional electricity sources.

However, should progress stall on the federal front, Chief Minister Bugti expressed openness to exploring alternative avenues, including securing soft loans from private banks to alleviate the electricity crisis gripping Balochistan’s agricultural heartland.

As the standoff persists, all eyes remain fixed on the outcome of Chief Minister Bugti’s diplomatic overtures and the collective efforts to alleviate the growers’ plight in Balochistan.

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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.