Using dung-cakes as fuel in resource rich Pakistan

<Photo: Jamal Dawoodpoto>

People using firewood and dung-cakes as fuel in Pakistan

Pakistan is bestowed with abundant natural resources including oil, gas, coal, hydro, wind and solar to meet its all requirements yet it’s faced with severe energy crisis, unprecedented in the history of country.

According to official statistics, Pakistan has proved gas reserves of 840.2 billion cubic meters but produces and consumes 42.9 billion cubic meters only. It has 313 million barrel proved reserves of oil but produces around 64950 barrel a day against the consumption of over 410, 000 barrel a day. Surprisingly it exports 29840 barrel a day crude oil while imports over 346, 400 barrel a day to meet own requirement.

<Photo: Jamal Dawoodpoto>

The country has 185.175 billion ton coal reserves that have never been utilized and according to all the successive governments’ statements work is underway to start excavation for generating electricity and gas that would meet requirement for over 100 years. The country has potential to produce thousands of MW electricity from wind and solar resources but so far no headway except starting the work on establishing the lone wind power mill in Southern Sindh province. Pakistan has also vast hydro power resources and can produce 60, 000MW electricity. Its hydro-power plants have the capacity of generating 19000MW electricity, but generate hardly 10, 000MW electricity. The country produces around 12000 to 13000 MW electricity from its hydro and thermal power resources and miserably fails to meet the demand of over 15000MW electricity.

<Photo: Jamal Dawoodpoto>

The result of inability to utilize our own natural resources is that capital Islamabad and all other cities and towns of Pakistan, the 7th nuclear power of world, are without electricity for 10 to 20 hours daily. Violent protests are taking place across the country against power shutdown, named as load shedding that has made the lives of people miserable during sizzling summers and chilling winters. There are long queues of vehicles at gas stations for getting CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) introduced about one and half a decade back as ‘green fuel’, which is also comparatively cheap than petrol. Owing to long queues of vehicles, sometimes it takes three to four hours to get the gas cylinder filled.

<Photo: Jamal Dawoodpoto>

The successive governments had been claiming that majority of towns and villages of country have been provided gas for domestic use but contrary to this claim, people in most of the villages and towns depend on firewood and cattle-dung using them as fuel. The selling points of firewood and vast areas spread with dried dung-cakes are common in rural and suburban areas. The women could be seen everywhere in these areas making dung-cakes, the traditional fuel used for cooking through the centuries. The photographs here are not of ancient era but of recent days taken in Larkana, a district headquarter town of Sindh province, which had been the home-district of two prime ministers, two chief ministers, several ministers and has the Presidency of sitting President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari.

<Photo: Jamal Dawoodpoto>

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