The power black outs in Gilgit City have become a norm during winters. Almost 18 hours of load shedding has added worries to the already winter stricken people of Gilgit. Needless to say, the stubborn power department Gilgit-Baltistan has done nothing to resolve the electricity crisis for the last many years. Instead the Department itself has been ensnared in malaise of corruption, irregularities and mismanagement.
Although scheduled, 9 hours load shedding day and night respectively in 24hours. But substation staffs of Power department are independent to control daily six hours light. It has become a habit of substation staff to switch on electricity to an area, almost half an hour late and switching off before, almost 20-30 minutes from the predefined schedule. When the consumer try to contact nearby substitution, the staff, usually keep their phone busy, probably by lifting off the receiver. Certainly, not to converse the worrisome public. Sometimes, by a chance when substation staff picks up the call, they usually fix the responsibility on the staff, where electricity is being generated, by saying “We have no control over electricity, actually supply comes from somewhere else, and we just switch on the main supply”.
The power department has opened small offices, called “Complain offices” at Muhallah level under the control of nearest substation’s supervisor to address the complains of general populace. Interestingly, almost 3-4 staff of the complain offices rarely visit their office, probably once in a week. After all, they are human being and cannot stay in their offices all the time during these chilly days and nights. That is why, when a major or a minor fault interrupts the electricity in an area, it takes two to three-day to resolve the issue.
Resembling other department in Gilgit-Baltistan, Power department too has intentionally been swelled up to induct more and more votes/workers of the political parties and near kith and kin of influential people. In this regard, the department is a best example of “law of diminishing marginal returns” and out rightly illustrates compromising efficiency and productivity by putting unnecessary burden on the public exchequer.
Although lot of irregularities and mismanagement could be counted for rectification, but the immediate solution to the current so-called Scheduled electricity shedding must be well planned and executed and must be controlled from the top management of power department. After all, all the staff including the top and middle management is drawing their salaries and other benefits to facilitate general public. Light Schedules and timing must not left at the discretion of lower staff at substations and “Bijili ghars”. Because light is a public good and it must be controlled and regulated for common good. Everything, including timing of light must be pre-announced in Radio, Newspapers, FM and other media source, So that everyone must know their schedule accordingly. Last but not least, responsibilities must be properly fixed when there is an unscheduled interruption of electricity to an area.