By Staff Writer
The gas shortage in the poverty-stricken Sistan and Baluchestan province, south-west Iran, has caused incredible problems for the people there, with many having to line up for hours in order to fill up their gas cylinders, before the harsh winters that plague this dry province come into full force.
Sistan and Baluchestan province is the second largest province in Iran, with an area of 180,726 km² or roughly the size of Syria, but it is the most impoverished province in Iran, which means that it is hit hardest with any kind of shortage.
On social media, there are many pictures of people in the province waiting in long gas lines, with some reports suggesting that many people are forced to leave empty-handed.
But this is no new thing. An article by the state-run Tasnim news agency, entitled “Gas shortage has angered people of Sistan and Baluchestan”, discussed the province’s long history of gas shortages.
The news agency, affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards Corps, explained that the province was denied any gas pipelines until 2013 when Iranshahr’s population finally received gas in their homes. However, the gas piping project that was supposed to supply gas to Zahedan was halted due to financial problems until 2015.
Despite official announcements about the gas piping project being finished in 2016, people in the region still report having to fill up their gas canisters by hand, carrying them for hours in long lines.
Tasnim wrote: “Like [the residents] of Zahedan, the people of Zabol have gas shortages, having to wait in long lines for hours every day to fill up their canisters. This while the CEO of the Iran National Gas Company announced in December 2017 that gas pipes would reach Zabol by autumn 2018.”
The people in Sistan and Baluchestan province are also deprived of other critical infrastructure despite the fact that the province is rich in natural resources, with the state-run IRNA news agency announcing that over a billion tons of mineral deposits were found there. This includes sand, clay, limestone, granite, marble, antimony, marlstone, chromite, manganese, copper, lumachella stone, shale and sandstone, iron and titanium.
In fact, IRNA reported that Sistan and Baluchestan province lies on the metal and mineral belt of the world, which is rich in mineral deposits of chromite, copper, manganese, lead and zinc, tin, tungsten, antimony, gold and nonmetal deposits such as talc, magnesite, silica, feldspar, kaolinite and stones such as granite.