Gilgit-Baltistan:Energy Forums Established in 3 Districts of GB

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GILGIT: In a bid to offer solutions for prolonged power outages in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), energy forums comprising experts and locals are being established in Gilgit, Ghizer and Skardu.

The first of these forums was established in Gilgit on Saturday with members chosen from different walks of life to participate in higher level policy dialogues.

The members were chosen during a round table conference organised by Sustainable Solutions under the Citizens Voice Project. The conference was attended by two dozen participants including power experts, civil society activists, politicians and senior government officials.

Briefing the participants, project manager Aziz Ahmad said, “More forums will be formed in Skardu and Ghizer in the coming days to raise the voices of the citizens in the energy policy of G-B.”

The forum will not only pass on suggestions to the authorities, but also keep a watch on the affairs of the power department, he added.

Load shedding has exceeded 20 hours a day in G-B – where according to officials – energy production presently stands at 47 megawatts (mw) while the demand is 225mw.

Ghulam Murtaza, superintendent engineer in Gilgit’s power department, told participants the power crisis would linger on as long as the region isn’t connected with the national grid.

“Investors would never invest money in the power sector in G-B until they are sure the power they will be producing is sold out entirely. This is unlikely at present because G-B does not have many industries, nor is it connected with the national grid,” he said.

Explaining possible solutions, Murtaza said the wires of the national grid at Sumar Nullah in Kohistan district or Mastuj in Chitral could easily be connected with.

The official said more than 52,000mw of power can be generated in G-B and sites have also been identified in this regard. But investors are not interested because of the lack of connectivity with the national grid.

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