Tue, 15 Jun 2021

Gilgit-Baltistan [Pakistan], May 8 (ANI): Daily power cuts lasting 20 hours in some districts of Pakistan's Gilgit-Baltistan have prompted locals to protest as they are forced to observe Ramzan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, in darkness.

According to Arab News, several hydropower projects are being built in the area to address the electricity crisis. Only last week, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced a PKR 370 billion development package for the region.

"But despite this flurry of activity and promises, for now, local businesses, not to mention and Ramzan and upcoming Eid Al-Fitr celebrations, have been upended by power outages," the report said.

Ghulam Nabi Sanai, a resident of Ghanche district, told Arab News on Wednesday that there is no electricity in our village. "We registered complaints about the absence of electricity, but no power department officials heard us. That's why we had to stage a sit-in."Sanai said that for the past few days, residents of his hometown had been preparing and eating their festive meals in darkness. Moreover, locals in several other districts also complain of growing power cuts.

A major problem of power supply in the region was that its electricity system was not fully connected to the national grid, said Riaz Ali, an executive engineer at Gilgit-Baltistan's power department. Ali said that the low production capacity of existing power stations was another problem.

According to a 2018 World Bank report, despite the large-scale construction of new power plants, electric power is still not reaching up to 50 million people in Pakistan who need it.

In January this year, several cities across Pakistan, including the capital Islamabad had plunged into darkness for several hours following a massive nationwide electricity blackout.

Gilgit-Baltistan is the gateway of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) but its residents have so far reaped few rewards of the billion-dollar infrastructure project. (ANI)

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