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 The lumberjacks of Skardu in Gilgit Baltistan on Thursday staged a protest against regular power cuts in the area. The protestors claimed that their business is being heavily affected because of these cuts. Hence, they are now forced to protest in front of the district collector’s office, Skardu TV reported.

A local leader Shiekh Hassan Durabi said that the businesses of these people have been destoyed. “The people who can afford motorised lumber machines also have not paid the fees of their kids. As their only way of earning their income is not functioning. They however are not demanding a regular supply of electricity but a mere 12 to 14 hours so that they can operate during the daylight,” Durabi said.

He further said that they have decided to continue this protest untill their demands get fulfilled.

“Right now they get only about two hours of electricity, and that too of very low voltage hence their heavy machines cannot operate in this electricity,” he added.

The leader also stated that the bills that the lumberjacks have been receiving are increasing every month even when the electricity is not supplied.

A local lumber trader stressed that they are facing these issues for over a year now, adding that they have to deal with this despite Skardu being the biggest industrial city in Gilgit Baltistan.

“Because of the nonavailability of electricity, many of our fellow lumberjacks have to close their business. More than 400 of our employees have been pushed towards unemployment, and we are not able to afford our rent. This is important for us because this is the only way that we have to fulfil the needs of our families,” the trader added.

Another trader from the lumberjack community said that their city has over 40 percent of GB’s population, hence demands that the same percentage of the development budget be given to their people.

“We have raised the same issue with the Chief Secretary, officials of the Ministry of Power, and other senior officials of Skardu and Gilgit Baltistan, but no one has listened to us, and this is increasing our problems. We demand that the tenders that have already been passed already, the government must initiate work that but they are not ready to listen,” he added.