Monday December 04, 2023

Floods damaged hydel powerhouses in Malakand

September 05, 2022

PESHAWAR: Besides causing losses to public and private properties, the flash floods had damaged all hydel micro powerhouses in Swat, Dir, Shangla and Chitral districts in the flood-hit Malakand division that were installed by the Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP) with financial assistance of the European Union.

According to initial assessment made by the semi-autonomous organisation, 18 powerhouses installed by the SRSP in Chitral, Upper Dir, Swat and Shangla districts were damaged in the floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains in these mountainous areas on August 26. It caused Rs217 million losses to the SRSP in terms of damage to the micro powerhouses.

Some of the installations were washed out and would need complete overhauling, while other can be repaired but would require enough funds. There were five powerhouses in Chitral, including Mastuj, Ayun, Booni, Bamburet, and Koh that caused Rs74 million losses alone in Chitral. In Swat, seven powerhouses, including Madyan, Bahrain, Utror, and three in Kalam i.e. Ashuran, Jungle Inn and Aryana were swept away in the floods.

In most of the areas, the floods damaged infrastructure, equipment, intake and portion of power channels, transmission and distribution lines of the powerhouses. The losses suffered by the SRSP to its installations in Swat were Rs74 million, the highest than any other district.

In Shangla district, the floods affected three hydel micro powerhouses, including Bela Ajmir, Damorai and Kikor Damorai and inflicted Rs18 million losses on SRSP. The losses to the three powerhouses in Upper Dir district, including Thal Kumrat, Tarpatar and Thall were estimated up to Rs26 million.

Besides these losses caused to the infrastructure and equipment, SRSP is likely to face more huge financial burden of Rs44,386,841 arrears, including Rs13,414,270 million commercial and Rs30,972,571 domestic, owned by the consumers.

These powerhouses were built on local streams and had ushered prosperity and changed local dynamics, particularly in the tourist destinations. The SRSP management and team members had struggled hard to collect funds from international donors to establish the powerhouses in the remote and difficult terrains.

They faced multiple challenges in operating the powerhouses and handling the consumers. As compared to the rest of the country, SRSP offered electricity to its consumers at low rates. There were two major reasons that brought a major change in Kalam and its tourism, one was the construction of 35 kilometres Bahrain-Kalam road and power supply, provided by the SRSP by setting up two small power generation powerhouses in Kalam. And obviously the Swat expressway was the third key factor that brought Swat’s beautiful tourist spots closer to the rest of Pakistan and made the journey easier and comfortable.