LAHORE - Around 30 million people in different areas of Pakistan are living without electricity and their electrification may take several years, the people associated with the programme say.
The goal “Electricity for All” was to be achieved by 2007 by electrifying all the villages in Pakistan, but the financial and power supply shortages are the major reasons behind the non-achievement of this goal.
A data reads that out of 125,000 villages in Pakistan, around 95,000 have been electrified and some 30,000 villages are still to be electrified. By determining average population of a village as 1,000, the number of persons living without power in Pakistan in 21st century is touching 30 million.
Lack of electricity in the areas means the people are living without televisions, fridges, mobile phones and other basic necessities of life in the 21st century.
Former Pepco MD Munawar Basir, talking on the subject, said that leaving aside data, there were thousands of areas in the country, which might not be electrified at all, in foreseeable future, keeping in view the long-term grid expansion plan, energy shortages, lack of funds and other reasons. Besides, he held that in the rural areas, even if a village was electrified or it already had electricity, its access to electricity was a dream due to 16 to 18 hours average power shutdown in the areas.
The gap between demand and supply of power was increasing with every passing day, he added. “As the country’s electricity demand will rise to around 40,000mw by 2020, the ongoing electricity generation projects and the electrification work in the underprivileged areas seem not to be completed,” said the energy expert.
A data available with The Nation suggests that the power distribution companies (Discos) in Pakistan have not so far completed electrification of the villages/areas pointed out in the 2008 survey for non-provision of funds and other reasons. The demand is growing speedily and pace of the work is slow, it seems.
As per the data, the Fesco (Faisalabad Electricity Supply Company) could complete 88 per cent electrification schemes included in the prime minister’s schemes in its limits even after five years. The company electrified 4,092 villages out of 4,641. Similarly, Fesco completed electrification of 721 villages out of 769 in MNAs and senators’ grants.
The Gepco electrified 2,490 out of 2,800 villages included in the PM’s schemes and completed 89 percent work in the areas. The company provided electricity to 178 villages out of 147 in its limits and completed 88 percent work on the schemes to be carried out with MNAs and senators’ grants.
The Islamabad Electricity Company (Iesco) could complete electrification of 1,792 villages out of 2,176 included in the PM’s schemes and left 384 villages even in the federal capital area in the 21st century. Under the schemes to be carried out with MNAs and senators’ grants, 270 out of 278 villages have been electrified in the suburbs of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
The Lesco (Lahore Electric Supply Company) provided electricity to 2,522 out of 2,774 villages included in the PM’s schemes and 24 out of 29 villages under the schemes to be carried out with MNAs and senators’ grants.
The Mepco completed work in 16,441 villages out of 20,070 included in PM’s schemes and ignored 3,629 villages in the Saraiki belt. The Multan Electric Power Company electrified 1,075 villages out of 1,081 under the schemes to be carried out with MNAs and senators’ grants.
The data suggests that around 5,222 villages have yet to be electrified in Punjab. The Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco) provided electricity to 2,985 out of 3,165 villages included in the PM’s schemes and 399 out of 437 under the schemes to be carried out with MNAs and senators’ grants. The Sukkar Electric Power Company (Sepco) electrified 2,643 out of 2,815 villages included in the PM’s schemes and 233 out of 276 under the schemes to be carried out with MNAs and senators’ grants.
The Peshawar Electric Power Company (Pesco) provided electricity to 5,112 villages out of 6,397 included in the PM’s schemes and 1,326 out of 1,434 under the schemes to be carried out with MNAs and senators’ grants.
The Tesco electrified 944 villages out of 946 in the tribal belt included in the PM’s schemes and 20 out of 20 of MNAs and senators’ grants.
The Qesco electrified 3,093 out of 2,990 villages in the PM’s schemes and 481 out of 546 of MNAs and senators’ grants.
The data describes that around 2,000 villages are yet to be electrified in Sindh, KPK, Fata and Balochistan mentioned in the 2008 survey.
In addition, there are more than 20,000 villages/localities in the country which have yet to be surveyed for electrification. An official of the power sector said that villages in South Punjab, hilly areas in north of Pakistan, Interior Sindh, Cholistan region and Balochistan areas along the Iran border are without power supply.
The Pepco chief was called to get his version on the matter but his cell phone was off.