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Energy Crisis In Gilgit-Baltistan

Majid Wali
Northern Areas Of Pakistan , after providing provincial setup now labelled as Gilgit-Baltistan having its own Chief Minister , Governor & elected members of legislative Assembly.
It is a region with 10 districts namely Gilgit, Skardu, Ghizer, Gaanche, Astore, Kharmang, Diamer,Nagar,Shiger & Hunza which covers area of approximately 72496 sq.km in the north having an estimated entire population of 1.8 million.
Gilgit-Baltistan is the water bank for Pakistan and flow of main Indus River originates from the region.It has large glaciers and snow deposits.Its main glaciers include Baltoro,Siachan,Biafo,Hispar and Batura etc.
Despite having snow deposits and glaciers, the region is suffering from demand and supply gap of power energy.Though Gilgit-Baltistan is not an Industrial area to raise high demand for power energy but majority power consumption is because of domestic appliances.
Hydro Power projects are key source of power generation in Gilgit-Baltistan region.
Hydro power potential on main tributaries and Indus river is estimated as 40,000 MW while on sub-tributaries it is 1200 MW. There are about 128 Hydel stations in Gilgit-Baltistan and collectively there power generation capacity is 145.934 MW. The power generation capacity in GB was 0.4 MW in 1960 which is slowly increased to 128 MW till 2018.
However, the present energy generation of Hydle Stations is 87.92 MW in winters ( Hydel & thermal ) and present energy demand is 270 MW (in winters) in the entire Gilgit-Baltistan which is huge gape in between demand & supply.
The winter power generation reduces to 40 % of installed capacity of hydel stations because of insufficient water and snow.
Gilgit-Baltistan is not connected to national grid and hence not a beneficiary of energy mix subsidy by federal Govt. National Grid is yet to be extended to Gilgit-Baltistan.The tendering of 765 KV high voltage transmission line is to be constructed upto Dassu Hydro Power project on River Indus.
Because of power energy shortage , people of region bring other means under utilisation to meet their energy needs. Mix of energy and its utilisation in the region is fire wood, LPG, K-2 Oil & electricity and there utilisation ratio is 45%,30%,.6% & 19% respectively.
.Locally,People meet most of their energy needs by burning wood.In this way increased deforestation can cause more environmental degradation and air pollution.Deforestation can be avoided through establishment of hydro projects to shift domestic loads on renewable energy.
In order to meet the power demand ,the water & power department has formulated short (till 2020 ) ,medium (till 2022) and long term (till 2025) projects to meet demand of 500 MW,600 MW & 900 MW respectively. It includes power projects which will be implemented under the series of China Pakistan Economic Corridor projects.
The accumulated cost figure for the whole region in context of short, medium & long term projects is 16718.3 million ,82946.62 million & 129753.142 million respectively.
The water & power department of the region is of the view that the current fiscal budget for the implementation & execution of power projects according to the demonstrated plan is insufficient. The department is seeking Govt to Govt funding in the shape of foreign Aids,Grants,Donations and,Concessional Loans or any other viable mechanism for sustainable development in the renewable energy sector specially hydro power.
It is essentially required to improve the revenue from sale of electricity. The Department has prepared installation of smart meters which is approved and recommended. Present tarif per unit is Rs.3.69.
According to water & power division , there is no hydro power policy in Gilgit-Baltistan.The lack of policy since 1960 till 2018 brings questions of whether incapability or inefficiency to the past local governments also not only for the current period. However a draft policy is under preparation , either it ll be approved or part and parcel of hydro policy of any other province or AJK will be adopted as suitable.
However the water & power department requires capacity building/organisational reforms for which a proposal needs to be submitted for consideration by the Govt.

Majid Wali
Official member-
International Human Rights Commission;
.

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