Gilgit to see uninterrupted supply soon
9 April 2007
Gilgit: The 18MW Naltar Hydel Power project is expected to start producing electricity in a couple of months, providing badly needed relief to the people of Gilgit. The construction of the $19 million project — being built by the Northern Areas Power Department in collaboration with the CLIC, a Chinese company — began in January 2005 and it was supposed to be completed by July 2006. However, because of the deteriorating law and order situation besides some other reasons, the project got delayed and it is now expected to start producing electricity in a couple of months. A senior official of the Northern Areas Power Department told Dawn on Monday that the Gilgit city had an aggregate demand of 16 megawatts but due to several factors, including mechanical and low water discharge in water streams, it always faced power shortage and this shortfall had to be met through loadshedding for long hours. He expressed the hope that with the commissioning of the new project, the city would witness an interrupted power supply and an end to load-shedding as the power project would be meeting the requirements for the next seven years. He rejected criticism over load-shedding and frequent power breakdowns, saying “The area people do not know of the technical and financial problems the department has been facing over the years.” The official, however, admitted that power breakdowns and load- shedding had badly hit routine life and business activities in the area. He, however, put the blame for these problems on policymakers. “We have to execute what we are told to do,” he said. When contacted by Dawn, regional secretary for water and power Nasir Ali Shigri admitted that there was a power crisis but said the consumers must support and cooperate with the power department to deal effectively with the problem. He deplored the non-cooperation of the area people whenever his department tried to take action against power theft and those who did not pay their dues. “These defaulters have caused huge losses to the department. And whenever we try to snap illegal power connections, these people gang up against the power department,” an official of the department told Dawn on condition of anonymity. He said the local administration must devise some punitive measures to deal with these defaulters to ensure an uninterrupted power supply in the area.