GILGIT: While authorities claim that cracks in Naltar Power Project’s water reservoir will be fixed on Wednesday, residents of Gilgit will have to suffer another two days in complete darkness.
“Experts have started examining the wall and the cracks will hopefully be repaired by Wednesday,” said Water and Power Department Executive Engineer Hamid Hussain on Sunday.
In addition to braving the freezing cold, the residents are being forced to bear extreme power outages, with only seven hours of electricity available during the past five days. The authorities claim that the ongoing crisis is due to a crack in the wall of Naltar Power Project’s water reservoir, which brought life to a complete standstill for the past week.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the Gilgit-Baltistan International Human Rights Observer said that the rulers have turned the region into a graveyard for nearly 1.8 million people.
The cracked wall came into the limelight when a group of residents informed reporters in Gilgit that over 70 families settled downstream are at risk of being swept away if the wall is breached.
The authorities, however, initially ruled out the possibility, saying that the reservoir’s wall was strong enough to sustain the water pressure.
However, as the leak increased over time, the government was forced to seek expert opinions.
Situated about 45 kilometres from Gilgit, the power project was built in 2008 during General Pervez Musharraf’s government. It is the biggest power project in G-B and supplies electricity to almost 90 per cent of the Gilgit’s population.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 23rd, 2012.
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