Gilgit - Baltistan

Power, Wheat crisis deepens in Hunza

By: Zulfiqar ALi Khan

Hunza Nov 26: The people of Hunza-Gojal are suffering immensely due to the deteriorating situation of electricity and wheat supply in the region. 

The situation of power supply is getting worst with the arrival of a very harsh winter in the valley. The unchecked increase in the prices of gas, wood and other energy sources have further aggravated the problems of the local people.   Despite of large scale protests and demonstrations, the authorities are unable to solve the problem. The NAPWD has further increased the load shedding duration in Central and Lower Hunza while the people of upper Hunza-Gojal are facing unannounced regular power breakdowns.

The local community has also complained of irregularities and lack of proper supply and distribution of the subsidized wheat and flour in the valley. According to sources, the Civil Supply depot in Aliabad, Hunza has storage of only 150 bags of wheat, which is not enough even for a single day.

The General Secretary of All Hunza Union Council in a statement said that Amir Khan, Acting Assistant Commissioner Hunza had announced an increase of 5,144 bags of wheat in quota for Hunza, which seems just a political statement to end the shutter down organized last week.  He said Hunza is receiving the wheat quota according to 1998 population census which has since increased manifolds.  He demanded to ensure storage of wheat for three months as the region totally depends on KKH for supply.

Aziz Jan, Chairman Union Council Gojal-1 blamed the officials for distributing the wheat of local quota among the non-local government employees and other near and dear ones. He said these officials are also involved in smuggling of wheat out of the union council. He said the Union Council has not received 700 bags of wheat from the quota.  He stressed the local administration to develop proper mechanism for the equal distribution of wheat and flour among the people. He said AC Hunza has assured him to investigate this issue and avoid such incidents in future. He complained that the employees at Khyber Power station are not properly fulfilling their duties and many are involve in violating the load shedding schedule in different villages.

The owner of the Hunza Flour Mill Hassanabad also had complaints regarding delays in supply of wheat which ultimately results in delay of supply of flour to local dealers.

Talking to this correspondent, Socrat Aman Rana, Assistant Commissioner Hunza said that with the start of winter the demand for electricity has increased forcing NAPWD to increase the load shedding hours. He said the Hassanabad Power station has the capacity to produce only 1100 KW of electricity as compared to the actual demand of 3300 KW.  He said the diesel generators are not functional as release of budget for fuel is pending with Finance department of Northern Areas. He said that the authority is however trying to avoid complete blackout.

Regarding the wheat shortage, he said that he will hold a meeting with the Civil Supply Organization officials soon in order to discuss the problems. He said Hunza has a little shortfall from the wheat quota till October however the quota for November has also not been received. He said the situation will get better after the opening of newly constructed bridge on KKH.   He said Managing Director NATCO has assured to provide trucks in order to ensure timely transportation of the wheat. Also at Dawn

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