Gilgit's Electricity Woes
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Unraveling the Mystery of Missing Crores: Gilgit’s Electricity Woes

Each year, people travel to Gilgit Baltistan for vacations, yet nobody talks about or draws attention to the nation’s concerns and challenges. One of the major socioeconomic problems this region is dealing with is the energy crisis. A few days ago, information of a patient’s surgery in Gilgit City using a smartphone torch went viral on social media, illustrating the severity of the country’s energy problem.

With the exception of a few isolated areas, the entire population of Gilgit-Baltistan is severely affected by the debilitating power outage that has persisted even into late spring. Every day, load shedding occurs for up to 20 hours in major towns like Gilgit and Skardu. Far-off places and isolated valleys are also either completely dark or depend on diesel generators, candles, and lanterns that burn kerosene oil or natural gas.

Challenges and Failures in the Region’s

The region’s successive governments have been unable to create a long-term system for producing and distributing electricity inside the territory. In response to the agitated crowds, knee-jerk reactions and populist rhetoric or techniques are frequently used, but the escalating crisis—which is partially made worse by the region’s tourism promotion—is not addressed.

Escalating Desolation

Unfortunately, entire regions have become desolate jungles due to a lack of appropriate research-based hydropower projects. Millions of rupees are allotted annually by the federal PSDP for the energy sector in Gujarat, but the majority of these funds are used, without any cost-benefit analysis, for the production of hydropower on minor streams. Streams freeze during the winter, which causes the water to stop flowing because the generation capacity is much reduced.

Diamer-Basha Dam Ownership

The 4500 MW installed capacity of the currently under construction Dimaer-Basha dam is entirely owned by the Pakistani government. Due to GB’s exclusion from Pakistan’s national power grid, the region’s power crisis may be lessened by giving the Pakistani government a proportionate share of the royalties.

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