The Gilgit-Baltistan government, on Saturday, announced a load management plan under which electricity to the regional capital will remain suspended from Saturday till Monday.
The plan, the first of its kind to be made public, has helped people understand the extent of the power crisis that has brought life to a standstill in the region.
The reason behind the suspension is to give technicians time to repair fissures in the walls of the main water reservoir of the Naltar hydel power project. The fissures were first discovered after residents informed the media that families living downstream risked being swept away in case the walls burst.
Though the authorities initially ruled out this possibility, saying that the joints had contracted due to weather changes, the government later brought in experts to fill in the fissures without much success.
Regional Minister for Water and Power Wazir Shakil, while apologising for the inconvenience caused, urged the public to cooperate with the government, adding that it was spending 30 per cent of the development budget on the power sector.
The reservoir, situated approximately 45km from Gilgit, currently supplies water to 90 per cent of the city’s population, making it the largest power project in the region.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2012.
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