Business community in Gilgit Baltistan organizes protest against heavy load shedding

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
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Woodcutters from Skardu in Gilgit Baltistan on Thursday protested against regular power cuts in the area.

The protesters claim that these cuts are having a huge impact on their business. Therefore, they are now forced to protest in front of the District Collector office, Skardu TV reported.

Sheikh Hassan Durabi, a local leader, said that the business of these people has been ruined.

“Even those who can afford motorized woodworking machines have not paid their children's fees. Since their only source of income is not working. However, they are not demanding regular supply of electricity but only 12 to 14-hour supply so that they can operate during daylight hours,” Durabi said.

He further said that they have decided to continue this protest until their demands are met.

He said, “At present they get electricity only for two hours and that too of very low voltage, so their heavy machines cannot work on this electricity.”

The leader also said that even when there is no electricity supply, the bill received by the loggers is increasing every month.

A local timber trader stressed that they have been facing these issues for more than a year, adding that they have to deal with it despite Skardu being the largest industrial city in Gilgit Baltistan.

“Due to non-availability of electricity, many of our fellow woodcutters have had to close their businesses. More than 400 of our employees have been pushed into unemployment, and we are not able to afford our rent. This is important for us because this is the only way we can meet the needs of our families,” the businessman said.

Another businessman from the lumberjack community said that more than 40 per cent of GB's population lives in his town, hence there is a demand that equal percentage of the development budget be given to his people.

“We have raised the same issue with the Chief Secretary, power ministry officials and other senior officials of Skardu and Gilgit Baltistan, but no one listened to us and this is increasing our problems. Our demand is that the government should start work on the tenders that have already been passed, but they are not ready to listen.

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