BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
GILGIT: Awami Action Committee says it will bring life to a standstill in Gilgit – Baltistan [G-B] if loadshedding isn’t overcome within a week.
“This is the ultimatum that we have given to the authorities to either put the house in order or else we will do that,” chairman Awami Action Committee [AAC] advocate Ehsan Ali said on Monday.
“The people have now realized their strength lies in unity, not infighting. The resources of the region are unutilized due to inefficiency and corruption,” Ali told Outpost, referring to power generation opportunities, which if materialised, may produce 60,000 mega watts in G-B.
The ultimatum was earlier given in a protest rally on Sunday as activists of around 23 religious, nationalist and political groups - who formed Awami Action Committee [AAC] last year with the single objective of lowering wheat prices - resumed struggle almost a year later.
In April 2014, AAC forced government to reduce wheat prices from Rs17 per kg to 11 per kg. The success was made possible after sectarian and nationalists parties agreed to shun their differences for a cause, giving an unprecedented strength to the AAC.
The Sunday’s rally was thronged by people as it began its march from Ghari Bagh to Airport Chowk. The leaders spoke against the federal government for inaction and not benefitting from vast resources of G-B. They also demanded inquiry into the affairs of power department to ensure punishment to the culprits.
About 20 t0 22 hours long power outages have paralysed routine life in Gilgit city, the headquarters of Gilgit-Baltistan region, hitting businesses and slowing work at government and private offices.
The plight continues from November till April ever year, challenging the resolve of government.
Illegal connections and power supply to influential and VIPs through special lines are believed to be one of the main reasons of existing energy crisis.
According to an official in Public Works Department [PWD], total requirement of power in Gilgit is over 50 megawatt while production is less than 10 megawatt. “Power generation has decreased in winters from 40 megawatt to only 10 megawatt from Naltar and Kargah power stations due to decrease in water flow in rivers,” said the official, who preferred not to be named as he wasn’t the right person to speak to media officially.
He said with the increase in water flow due to melting of snow during summer, loadshedding would be reduced.