QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Sarfaraz Bugti has said converting all tube wells in the province on solar energy would cost Rs75 billion and his government will approach the Centre to seek the required funds.

The CM made the statement in a meeting with the delegation of Zamindar Action Committee, led by its president, Malik Naseer Ahmad Shahwani.

He said if the federal government didn’t provide funds for converting around 28,000 tube wells to solar power, the province would consider taking loans from private banks.

The delegation briefed the chief minister on the issues faced by farmers in the province. They lamented that prolonged load shedding was destroying their crops and orchards.

Mr Bugti contacted the federal minister for power and other officials during the meeting and said the farmers were being provided electricity for only eight hours each day under an agreement reached during the caretaker government’s tenure.

The CM also stressed the need for finding alternatives to subsidies saying that the provincial government has already paid Rs2bn and will pay an additional Rs2bn in the name of subsidies.

“If we spend the entire development budget on subsidies, the electricity issue will not be resolved.”

The chief minister said a delegation of Balochistan Assembly members will meet the prime minister next Monday to discuss load shedding and development projects in south Balochistan.

He urged the delegation to be optimistic and assured them of discussing their issues with the federal government.

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2024

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