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March 18, 2015

Work on EU-funded power project launched


March 18, 2015

CHITRAL: In a major move to solve the lingering loadshedding problem in Chitral town, the Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP) Tuesday launched work on the Rs260 million megawatt power station under the European Union-funded PEACE Project.
A large number of people, all important stakeholders of the district and elders attended the event.The Chitral town remains under a virtual blackout throughout the year as the local power station, which was established in 1972, produces barely half of its one megawatt capacity and the national grid as well as the power acquired from Reshun Hydro-power station in upper Chitral also fail to meet the local needs.
“It’s indeed a moment of happiness for me to see that organisations are making efforts to supplement the government’s initiatives to mitigate the sufferings of the people. I thank the EU-SRSP for launching such a vital project,” said Provincial Minister for Irrigation Mehmood Khan while inaugurating the project.
He said the PTI-led provincial government would appreciate and encourage such initiative for the welfare of the people.“As Chitral faces long blackouts and at times there is no electricity for days, people find it almost impossible to use electric gadgets because of low voltage. This has severely hit local businesses, cottage industries and hotels and added to the growing unemployment in the landlocked district,” said Muhammad Zahid, SRSP project manager.
In response to this situation, he said, the SRSP had taken a strenuous effort to find an alternative site to provide electricity to the electricity-starved dwellers of the town. “The people of Birmogh in Golen took the lead and provided land and space for the power station,” he added.
The design of the project was completed in a record three months. The SRSP had also undertaken similar work in Kalam valley in Swat and provided electricity to over 72 hotels in Kalam by reviving and doubling the production of electricity of power

units that had been dysfunctional for seven years.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) SRSP Masoodul Mulk said that the project would be run as a social enterprise. It is, he added, a concept under which the SRSP managed the established projects under principles of financial sustainability and equitable sharing of benefits with the community for social development purposes.
He said the capacity of the community to manage the project would be enhanced and management gradually transferred to it.The CEO said that in addition to the power house at Birmogh, a power house of 700 kilowatts and 500 kilowatts were going to be established in Booni, Mastuj. “And work on the projects in Booni and Drosh would be initiated in the coming week,” he added.
He said that work was already in progress or completed on power houses of various sizes ranging from 150 kilowatts to 500 kilowatts in Bamburet, Ovir, Terich, Laspur, Khot and Rech. “The power house at Birmogh would be completed in nine months,” the SRSP CEO said amidst applauses by the locals.Earlier, the joyous locals thronged the meeting place in small processions from different parts of the area.

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