QUETTA - At least four power pylons of National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) were blown up by unknown persons in Chattar and Bakhtiarabad areas of Dera Murad Jamali between Saturday and Sunday night as a result of which 17 districts of Balochistan, including Quetta, plunged into darkness.

According to a spokesman for the Quetta Electric Supply Company (QESCO), the power pylons of the NDTC were blown up at 12:36am on Saturday and Sunday night, adding that 220KV tower Nos 434, 235, 247 and 249 were damaged in the areas of Chatter and Bakhtiarabad, disrupting electricity supply to 17 grid stations of the province.

“However, the supply of electricity was restored to Quetta from an alternate private powerhouse,” he added and said that QESCO was in constant contact with NTDC for the immediate repair and restoration of the 220 KV towers. He added NTDC was already working on the tower Nos 249 and 247 in Bakhtiarabad while the work on the damaged towers in Chattar would begin after security clearance.

The spokesman for QESCO said Balochistan was facing power crunch due to closure of Gudhu, Ouch, Sibi transmission line, adding the power demand of the 47 grid stations linked to this line was 1250 megawatts while this time they only had 150MW of electricity which was provided by ICC Jamshoro for fulfilling Quetta’s electricity needs. He said after the repair of these lines, all the districts would be provided electricity.

Meanwhile, two personnel of Frontier Corps (FC) Balochistan on Sunday sustained serious injuries in a remote-controlled bomb attack on the outskirts of Quetta.

A spokesperson for the FC said a patrolling party was travelling on Qambrani Road of Quetta when the explosives planted along the road near Kashmirabad area went off with a huge blast. As a result, two personnel, identified as driver Allah Nawaz and sepoy Samiullah, received wounds and were immediately shifted to Bolan Medical Complex Hospital for medical aid.

A heavy contingent of law-enforcement agencies rushed to the site and cordoned off the area. “The explosives were detonated through a remote-controlled device and the patrolling party of FC was key target,” sources said, adding the sound of the powerful blast was heard far away in the locality that created panic among the people.

“A search has been started in the area to track down the elements behind the bomb attack,” a police official told The Nation.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the remote controlled-bomb attack on the FC party.

Previously, a number of attacks on security personnel carried out in Quetta and its surroundings were mostly claimed by Baloch armed groups.

Meanwhile, Frontier Corps foiled an attempt to destroy a gas pipeline in the restive Dera Bugti district by timely recovering and defusing a device planted with a pipeline supplying gas to purification plant.

Separately, FC along with police carried out a joint operation in Niabaad area of Gwadar, Port City and winter capital of Balochistan and rounded up seven accused besides seizing weapons from their possession. The accused were later handed over to police for further investigation.