By Nosheen Zaib
Energy is considered as a life line of any economy and most vital instrument of socioeconomic development of a country. Energy is pivotal in running machinery in factories and industrial units, for lighting our cities and powering our vehicles etc. There has been an enormous increase in the demand of energy as a result of industrial development and population growth, in comparison to enhancement in energy production. Supply of energy is, therefore, far less than the actual demand, resultantly the economy badly suffers from energy crisis. Pakistan’s energy infrastructure is not well developed therefore the country facing severe energy crises, rather it is considered to be underdeveloped and poorly managed. Despite of strong economic growth and rising energy demand during past decade, no serious efforts have been made to install new capacity of generation. Moreover, rapid demand growth, transmission losses due to outdated infrastructure, power theft, and seasonal reductions in the availability of hydropower have worsened the situation. Consequently, the demand exceeds supply and hence load-shedding is a common phenomenon through power shutdown which causes multiple socio-economic problems. .
In Economic Factors, Energy is pivotal for running all other resources and crisis of energy directly influences all other sectors of the economy. The economic progress is hampered by decline in agricultural productivity as well as by halting in operations of industries. One important factor of lower GDP and inflation of commodity prices in recent years is attributed to shortfalls in energy supply. In Agriculture Sector, Agricultural productivity of Pakistan is decreasing due to provision of not enough energy for running tube wells, agricultural machinery and production of fertilizers and pesticides. Thus higher energy supply results in higher agricultural productivity.
In Industrial Sector, Nearly all Industrial units are run with the energy and disruption in energy supply is having dire consequences on industrial growth. As a result of decline in energy supply, industrial units are not being opened, rather the existing units are gradually closing or being shifted to other countries. .
Another more critical factor is unemployment- By closure of industrial units and less agricultural productivity, new employment opportunities have ceased to exist and already employed manpower is shredded by the employers to increase their profit ratios. Thus energy crisis contributes towards unemployment as well .Other Social Issues are primarily related to the domestic usage of energy (cooking, heating and water provision). Load shedding cause unrest and frustration amongst the people and results in agitation against the Government. There has been a rapid increase in Poverty because of Decline in economic growth, lower agricultural productivity, unemployment and shackling industrial growth which has resulted in increasing poverty. Currently, around 60 million Pakistanis are living below the poverty line and this ratio is increasing day by day. Effective control of energy crisis will surely yield in curbing the menace of poverty. Energy Crisis has, more or less, plagued all sectors of Pakistan’s machinery ranging from industry, agriculture, social life, inflation to poverty and it is hampering national progress in a drastic manner. Nonetheless, menace of energy crisis can be overwhelmed by government through making effective policies and its proactive implementation. Simultaneously, it is the responsibility of us, the people of Pakistan, to utilize the available energy astutely and wisely to play our due role for progress of the country.
Energy crisis can be curtailed by Conservation through usage of electricity saving devices like Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs), Modern techniques of energy efficiency through retro fitting, Awareness campaign for energy saving, Reduction in industrial uses with installation of effective equipment / energy efficient, Decreasing line losses by using efficient power transmission cables and Developing new energy resources like Managing Dam projects, Tapping indigenous resources (Thar coal), Using renewable resources (water) by constructing new dams and hydro power plants, Import of natural gas by IPI (Iran, Pakistan, India) and TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) pipelines, Import of electricity from Tajikistan -through Pak Afghan Tajikistan transmission- and Iran, Utilizing alternative energy resources like, Wind power, Biodiesel /Biomass, Solar, Tidal and by enhancing civilian nuclear capacity.
*The writer is a student of B. S (Psychology).