LAHORE -  At least 3,000 villages in far flung areas of different districts in Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) region are without electricity and their electrification may take a long time, mainly due to financial constraints and power supply restraints in the country, official sources said.

Energy experts said that absence of electricity in various rural areas of Kasur, Sheikhupura, Nankana and Okara means the people are living here without televisions, fridges, mobile phones and other basic necessities of life in the 21st century.

According to experts, under the PM scheme, the goal of “Electricity for All” through grants for MNAs and senators was to be achieved by 2007 by electrifying all the villages in Pakistan, but the financial and power supply shortages remained the major reasons behind the non-achievement of this goal. The experts, quoting the survey of 2008, said that around 20,000 villages are still without electricity in FATA, Sindh, KP and Balochistan. They said that villages in South Punjab, hilly areas in north of Pakistan, Interior Sindh, Cholistan region and Balochistan areas along the Iran border are still without power supply.

They said that there were thousands of areas in the country, which might not be electrified at all in near future due to multiple reasons including lack of long-term policies for grid expansion plan, energy shortages and lack of funds. In the recent past, the access to electricity was a dream due to prolonged power shutdown in these rural areas, though the villages were already electrified. The gap between demand and supply of power remained always on upward trend for the last many years, resulting into non-completion of electrification work in the underprivileged areas.

LESCO Construction Circle project director Jafar Hussain observed that the company has no proper data of non-electrified areas of its jurisdiction; however, it has the total data of its whole electrified area and its electricity consumers.

Regarding electrification of rural areas, he said that LESCO is implementing the electrification of around 500 villages by January 2018 under Prime Minister’s Sustainable Development Goal 2016-17. “Though our target is to complete the project by March but our Lesco chief Wajid Ali Kazmi has given us task to accomplish the electrification work before time till Jan 2018.”

Jafar Hussain said that under SDG first phase, 75 villages of Kasur, Sheikhupura, Nankana and Okara were electrified out of total 235 with the cost of Rs186 million funds which were released almost one year late in May 2017. He said that the under the second phase, 234 additional villages of these districts will be electrified.

The government has also directed the Lesco to make feasibility of electrification of 250 villages of Nankana. On average, electrification of a village costs in the range of Rs0.5 million to Rs20 million depending on the population, he said.

Lesco director said that the MNAs of concerned areas request the government for electrification of the villages and then government releases funds to the Lesco to execute the plan, he added. “We are not responsible for non-electrification of various rural areas in far flung areas. It is the government which makes policy to provide power to those villages and releases funds after approval in the annual budget.”