Sistan and Baluchestan Province, in southeastern Iran, borders Pakistan and Afghanistan. With an area of more than 181,000 square kilometers, it is the largest province in Iran, and home to around 2.4 million people. The province is less developed, but enjoys great untapped potential.
With numerous historical and natural attractions, the province could be put on the road to economic growth if it is given the finances and attention it deserves. The Iranian governments after the revolution have tried to implement new plans such as creating the Chabahar Free Trade-Industrial Zone to help the less-privileged area grow. Facing many challenges, the province has left behind trying times, eagerly waiting for better days to come.
Tasnim News Agency on October 30 filed a report on a decision by the Iranian Economy Council to fund a project to ship natural gas to Sistan and Baluchestan. It featured comments by local officials on details of different plans which are being carried out or will be done for the impoverished province to lift it out of poverty. The following is the translation of the report:
The Iranian Economy Council has agreed to dedicate 1.5 billion dollars in finances to Sistan and Baluchestan Province for supplying its cities with natural gas, said a deputy governor general of Sistan and Baluchestan.
The dedication of the budget needed to transfer natural gas to cities and villages across the province came on the heels of a presidential trip to the area. During President Rouhani’s trip [back in mid-April], plans were ratified for, among other things, the development of Chabahar-Zahedan railway, transfer of water from Zabol to Zahedan, and irrigation of farmland.
Local officials say that the [paved] roads in the province are far from enough. Only 205 kilometers of highways crisscross the vast province. This area, they say, is in need of more funds to improve and complete its roadways.
As for water, there are limited runoff and ground water in the north, center and south. As many as 33 dams harness 1.2 billion cubic meters of surface water in the province.
The good news is a rail connection between Chabahar and Mashhad, something which could, as local officials have put it, turn around central and northern parts of the province. The development of this area could in turn help the eastern part of the country undergo sea change in the future.