The untapped power potential of AJK

Experts have described the state's potential resources as"gold"; why are its rulers ignoring the energy goldmine?

Roshan Mughal February 06, 2011

On a recent visit to my hometown Chakothi in Azad Kashmir, I felt disconnected from the rest of the world due to the perpetual darkness I endured for two days.

Azad Kashmir is said to have an enormous potential for producing hydropower – up to 17,000 megawatts. The state continues to witness many rulers making tall claims about developing it up to the standards of Dubai or Paris – something that does not seem like a hard task given AJK’s relatively small size in terms of population (3.2 million).

Azad Kashmir consumes around 300 to 400 megawatts of power only, making the surplus electricity available for sale to the rest of Pakistan. However, unfortunately no concrete steps have been taken to unlock the immense potential of electricity production in the valley, leaving most of Pakistan in darkness – literally.

The incumbent prime minister Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan after being elected in 2006 promised to provide electricity and gas to Kashmir valley via Chakothi town and Sialkot. This promise seems like a joke now as most of the valley is faced with horrific power cuts in the scorching summer as well as in the chilling winter.

In fact, not even 10 megawatts of electricity has been added to the production capacity in the last ten years of the Muslim Conference rule.

Four hydro-power stations, including AJK’s largest 33 megawatt-project at Jagran in Neelum valley, were damaged by the devastating floods last year. Six months on, they still have not been restored.

Energy experts have described the state’s potential in energy resources as “gold in AJK’s streams” as many projects can be built over just one stream of the three rivers that flow from Azad Kashmir.

Yet, ironically, the rulers seem to be least interested. I, for one, am stunned by the tall claims and laughable promises made by the rulers to make Azad Kashmir a model state like Dubai or Paris.

Roshan Mughal A Muzaffarabad-based reporter for The Express Tribune.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


W.Gilani | 12 years ago | Reply In my openion, we cannot blam the corrupt, senseless, and greedy political forces. It is proved that they are parsites who suck blood from corpses. The nation and homeland is like mother for common people but for them it is a shop which profits them. One cannot complain that a volture survives on dead animals. We are a nation of fools. We elect these scalvangers ourselves. We vote not for talent, or leadership but to the familism, favouritism, and etc. We elect those who want them to be deprived so that they can use us to enhance their force. We need to change the trends to change our destiny. Allah Almighty has bestowed us with a lot of affluances and potential, but He will never install power generation for us. Instead of thanking Him Almighty we are destroying and misusing His blessings upon our nation. We are chopping jungles at a termandous speed. We have lost our virtu and in our institutes where there should be people to build the nations are now hideouts of puppits and corrupt people. We need a revolution to change all this.
Tahir Mughal | 13 years ago | Reply Well said Mr.Mughal, now this is the time when we people need to take more mature and descent decisions for our future. elections are expected in near future so vote for good people But Honestly Speaking here i cant see any leader who is good, all are those who have already been tested. I cant see a Ray of hope in this corrupt and dishonest environment.
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