Accord signed to ‘solarise’ tube wells in Balochistan

Published July 9, 2024
Under the Rs55bn agreement, 28,000 registered agriculture tube wells in Balochistan will be shifted to solar power in three months—AFP/file
Under the Rs55bn agreement, 28,000 registered agriculture tube wells in Balochistan will be shifted to solar power in three months—AFP/file

QUETTA/LAHORE: The federal and Balochistan governments signed on Monday an agreement worth Rs55 billion to solarise agriculture tube wells in the province within three months.

Under the agreement, signed by federal Energy Secretary Rashid Mahmood Langrial and Balochistan Chief Secretary Shakeel Qadir Khan, 28,000 registered agriculture tube wells in the province would be shifted to the solar system.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who arrived in Quetta on a day-long visit to witness the signing ceremony of the landmark initiative, said that a green revolution would sweep across the province as hundreds of thousands of acres of land would come under cultivation in Balochistan with the adoption of the solar energy system.

The prime minister said that the federal government, in cooperation with the Balochistan government, will shift around 28,000 agriculture tube wells of the province from electricity to solar energy. He said the total cost of this project is Rs55bn, of which 70 per cent will be provided by the federal government.

Punjab to provide solar panels to citizens on easy instalments

He said CM Bugti assured him that the solarisation of tube wells will be completed in three months. He said the initiative will help save around Rs90bn annually.

The prime minister said the solarisation of agriculture tube wells will ensure uninterrupted water supply to the farmers of Balochistan.

He added that in the next phase, “we are going for the solarisation of one million agriculture tube wells across the country, saving $3.5bn being spent on imported fuel every year”.

Balochistan Governor Sheikh Jaffar Khan Mandokhail, Chief Minister Sarfraz Ahmed Bugti, federal ministers Jam Kamal Khan Alyani, Azam Nazir Tarar, Attaullah Tarar and Sardar Owais Khan Leghari and members of the provincial cabinet also witnessed the signing ceremony.

Solar panels

Meanwhile, the Punjab government has announced provision of solar panels to the people consuming up to 500 units on easy instalments.

Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz on Monday approved the “Roshan Gharana Programme” while presiding over a meeting of the energy department.

“The Punjab government will provide solar systems to the people consuming electricity from 50 to 500 units and 90 per cent of the cost will be paid by the Punjab government while the remaining by the consumer,” she said.

In view of the rising cost of electricity and the energy crisis, the consumers would have to pay (90pc government loan) On easyinstalments of five years, she said. “We are trying to save people from the effects of past disasters. After five years, the people will not face the current issues,” she claimed.

The Punjab government, however, did not provide details such as whether the scheme will BE for the whole year, when will this be formally launched and which bank offers the loan under what other conditions.

The Punjab cabinet will meet on Tuesday (today) to formally approve the ‘Roshan Gharana Programme’ of providing solar panels to the people. “Using a transparent procedure, solar systems will be given to the poorest families in phase-I. In winter, the installment of solar panel will be relatively less, and the panel will only be supplied by the government,” CM Maryam said.

She said that as per user’s needs, the ratio between government electricity and the electricity obtained from the solar system would be determined.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Development Working Party (PDWP) approved the chief minister’s programme for solarisation of agriculture tube wells in Punjab at an estimated cost of Rs9bn.

The PDWP meeting, chaired by Planning and Development Board Chairman Barrister Nabeel Awan, also approved seven development schemes worth over Rs24bn.

Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2024

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