By Shabbir Mir
GILGIT: The Gilgit-Baltistan government has decided to find a permanent solution to landslides, which have repeatedly swept through the region, by conducting a study.
The decision came days after the region witnessed heavy rain and landslides that damaged 42 hydropower projects in the region, causing huge losses to the exchequer.
“We have decided to conduct a study to settle this issue once and for all,” Farooq Mir, an adviser to the chief minister, told The Express Tribuneon Monday. “[A] mechanism will be devised [for this purpose].”
He said experts will conduct the study after visiting the sites. According to Mir, they will suggest measures that would ensure infrastructure remains safe even if landslides occur.
The adviser said 29 of the 42 hydropower projects were repaired last week while the rest would be in working condition over the next 10 days.
“Around seven out of 12 hydropower projects in Gilgit have been repaired,” Mir said.
He added over 60% of such projects in the remaining districts have also been repaired and power supply has been resumed. “The floods damaged seven power projects each in Nagar, Astore and Diamer,” the adviser said.
The regional government has decided to install seven thermal generators across the region. This has been done to address challenges triggered by weather anomalies and climate change. “This will be a temporary arrangement to restore power supply to the consumers in case of a crisis,” the adviser said. “Each generator will have capacity to generate a megawatt [of electricity].”
G-B Chief Minister Hafeezur Rahman was scheduled to visit the affected population in various parts of the region on Monday to show solidarity with them. He was also going to visit the damaged powerhouses to assess the level of damage.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2016.