By Zubair Ahmed
Power shortage in village Gulmit (Gojal) has left a population of 3398 in the darkness. According to local sources, the issue of power shortage has been prevalent in the village from the last few years, but has multiplied manifolds over the last one year.
A recent survey by a local support organization revealed that the people of Gulmit normally face at least six hours of unannounced load shedding every day. The villagers even spend several weeks without power whenever there is a technical glitch with the hydel power generation facility located at village Khyber or when high winds and rainfall damage the power transmission lines and poles.
According to the GB government’s power management authority, the hydel power generation plant at Khyber is unable to meet the energy demand of the rising population. Increased commercialization in Gulmit and across Gojal valley has additionally increased the load on the existing power station, reports say.
The power shortage has not only adversely affected the small and medium sized businesses in the area, but has also made students of the village suffer during exams.
“Power shortage has badly affected our business and profits. It has forced us to use expensive alternatives, such as fossil fuel,” said Mr. Faryad, a restaurant owner in Gulmit.
Hospitals in the area have also been adversely affected by the power shortage. A source at a hospital in Gulmit said that “patients who come here for tests that can only be conducted on power dependent machines are forced to wait long hours for the electricity to come.”
Several people of the village think that alternative energy sources would bring sustainable solution to the issue. They are seeking help of non-governmental organizations to resolve the power shortage issue of Gulmit.
“We have lost hope and trust in the government and announcements of the politicians. They have even failed to complete a power generation project in Misgar, which was supposed to be operational by now and resolve the power shortage issue of the whole region,” said Mr. Adil Shah, a resident of Gulmit.