Gilgit-Baltistan has potential to generate 59,000 megawatts power: Senate body told
Islamabad, January 31: The Senate Standing Committee on Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs was informed on Wednesday that Gilgit-Baltistan has the potential to generate 59,000 megawatts electricity if effective policy is put in place. The committee meeting chaired by Senator Baz Mohammad Khan, was told by the officials of Ministry of Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs that the abundance of water has not only the capacity to generate 59,000MW electricity, but also meet the water scarcity for cultivation of fertile land.
Secretary Ministry of Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs, Shahidullah Baig told the panel that the Indus River alone can generate 45,000MW electricity, while 8671MW could also be generated through on-going projects in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. “If proper mechanism and effective policy is followed, it will not only help in addressing the energy crisis, but also the water shortage in the country”, he said, adding that 4500 MW electricity could be added to the national grid with the completion of Bhasha Dam at the total cost of Rs 1254 billion.
If completed, he stated that the dam will not only help in addressing the energy crisis, but it will also turn the non-fertile lands into profitable fertile lands, which will automatically bring prosperity in the area. He said that 37,419 acres of land will be required for the construction of Bhasha dam, for which 19,062 acres of government land, while 18357 acres of private land will be purchased. He further told the committee that 10 percent of private land has already been purchased at a cost of Rs 12.32 billion, whereas 17,214 acres government land has also been acquired.
He further informed the committee that 4,500MW additional electricity could also be added to the national grid from Dasu dam. The secretary gave detailed briefing to the committee on the ongoing development projects in Gilgit-Baltistan, saying that a number of projects were currently underway on the direction of the Prime Minister.
In order to provide security at Karakoram Highway, a special force comprising 1,500 personnel will also be formed on the direction of the Prime Minister which will ensure security to the people travelling on the highway. The committee was informed that the ministry was spending on education of students from AJK from the revenue being generated from the lands owned by Rajas of Jammu and Phonch. It was further informed that the lands located in Faisalabad, Sialkot and Rawalpindi had generated a total of Rs 450 million revenue during 2013 and its total revenue could rise to Rs 100 million if the remaining land was acquired from illegal occupants.