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February 17, 2018

Hydropower generation eases life in Kalam


February 17, 2018

MINGORA: The availability of round-the-clock electricity in the scenic Kalam valley not only ended dependence of the local population on firewood or other costly sources of energy but also minimised the chances of migration in winter.

The uninterrupted electricity being supplied to the residents from the two micro hydropower stations were set up by the Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP) under the European Union-funded Peace Project. The two power stations are the major source of electricity supply to the entire Kalam Union Council, which consists of over 28,000 households.

"Previously, we were compelled to move out of our areas during winter," Kalam Hotels Association President Dr Wadud told The News. "Apart from hotels, houses and shops, electricity lines were also washed away by severe flood in 2010," said 60-year-old, Omar Khan. He added that they had now been provided electricity that would help improve their living standard and boost businesses.

Another local, Muhammad Yasin said, "Due to non-availability of electricity in their areas, the residents used to pay 20 to 30 rupees to shopkeepers for charging cellphones through generators." He said after the construction of power stations, Kalam was now getting continuous electricity supply. "We are lucky that our valley is not facing electricity shortage," he added. "The households are getting cheaper electricity at a time when people in other areas of the country are paying high charges," said Afsar Khan, a shopkeeper. He said the domestic consumers were being charged Rs3 per unit while the commercial ones were paying Rs7 per unit.

The SRSP official said the public-private partnership led to the establishment of the 400KW micro hydropower station in Jungle Inn area and the 1.2MW power station in Ashuran. The residents termed it a remarkable achievement and hoped it would help boost tourism as tourists faced a host of problems due to no-availability of electricity.

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