Gilgit - Baltistan

Indus river projects long term remedy to overcome power shortages

ISLAMABAD, Jun 4 (APP): A long term plan to overcome power shortages can work miracles if the Federal Government makes a focused effort to complete projects on six Indus river sites having potential to generate 18900 megawatts of electricity. According to official sources, on Indus river, Yugo dam has potential to produce 520 MW, Skardu dam 1600 MW, Tungus dam 2200, Yulbo dam 2800 MW, Bunji dam 7100 MW and Diamer-Bhasha dam 4500 MW. The Water and Power department of Gilgit Baltistan has also marked 36 projects to produce 204 megawatts of power on tributaries and sub tributaries of river Indus. WAPDA will remain central to complete these mega projects on river Indus besides numerous small hydro power stations.

Gilgit Baltistan, a region given autonomy by the previous government is the water bank for Pakistan due to large area of glaciers and snow deposits in its mountains.

The region has catchment area of 72496 square kilometers, which include about 27 % glaciers, the biggest in the world outside polar region.

As happened over all these past centuries, Indus river will be core to Pakistan’s efforts to keep the economy going by overcoming power shortages which sends lives of people to a state of paralysis.

According to experts, hydro power potential on main tributaries and Indus River is as much as 40,000 MW while hydro power potential on sub tributaries is 1,200 MW.

A two decade old policy to encourage private sector for power generation has fallen below expectations as the government has been bogged down by circular debt.

At present as many as 15 private companies have capacity to produce four thousand megawatts of power but many times these are working below capacity for shortage of cash to buy fuel.

Hub Power Project has capacity to produce 1292 MW, Uch Power Limited 586 MW, AES Pak Gen. (Pvt) 365 MW, AES Lalpir 362 MW, Tapal Energy Limited 126 MW, Southern Electric Power Company 115.2 MW, Saba Power Company 114 MW, Rousch (Pakistan) Power 412 MW, Liberty Power Project 235 MW, Kohinoor Energy 131.44 MW, Japan Power Generation 120 MW, Habibullah Coastal Power Co. 140 MW, Gul Ahmed Energy 136.17 MW, Fauji Kabirwala Power Company 157 MW and Altern Energy Limited 29 MW.

According to Water & Power Ministry, the supply and demand gap for electricity is worsening as according to recent figures total generation stood at 11,800 mw against demand of 16,400 mw, with electricity shortfall recorded at 4,600mw.

All eyes are set on the newly elected government to come to the rescue of hapless citizens but all agree it will take months if not years to light up homes and factories round the clock.

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