MANSEHRA, Aug 19: The Wapda and Islahi committee of Kohistan on Monday failed to settle row over the laying of main power supply line from the hydropower station built on Dubair Khawar dam to the local grid station.

Work on the 140mw Dubair Khawar hydropower project completed recently but the local residents are blocking the lying of the supply line from the hydropower station to the grid station at Puttan area.

The representatives of Wapda and Islahi committee have met many times to sort out differences on the matter, but to no avail.

The local residents demand supply of 6mw electricity from the hydropower station and free electricity but Wapda declares the demands unacceptable.

The Wapda and the Islahi committee on Monday held a meeting in Puttan but failed to settle the dispute.

Local deputy commissioner Mohammad Shah, Wapda chief engineer Tahir Waseem, project director Salim Raza and local MNA Sarzameen Khan and adviser to the provincial chief minister MPA Abdul Haq Khan also attended the meeting.

The Wapda chief engineer said: “We can neither accept your demand nor can we give you an assurance in written as meeting it is not possible for us.”

The Islahi committee representatives led by Sarzameen Khan said they were ready to give up the demand for free electric supply but won’t budge on the provision of 6mw electricity from the hydropower station.

Sarzameen Khan said he would take up the matter with water and power minister Khawaja Asif after Aug 22.

He said the local residents won’t allow the laying of the main power line from the hydropower station until Wapda didn’t make an agreement on supply of electricity to them directly from the hydropower project.

Deputy commissioner Mohammad Shah urged the people of Kohistan to show flexibility and said if Wapda accepted their demands, then the people of other areas, where such projects were underway, would make similar demands.

He said if the local residents cooperated with Wapda and other development agencies, 25 more hydropower projects could be begun in the area for massive development.

Later, the Islahi committee and Wapda decided to take the matter to the water and power ministry for decision.

EXTRA HAJ PAYMENT TO BE RETURNED: Haj and religious affairs minister Sardar Mohammad Yousaf on Monday said the government had considerably reduced travel and lodging expenditure of Hajis and would soon reimburse the extra amount paid.

Mr Yousaf told reporters at Mansehra Press Club that 143,000 Pakistanis would perform Haj this year and his ministry had booked the best possible buildings in Saudi Arabia for them.

He said Haji camps in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar were geared up for Haj operations, while the first Haj flight would leave for Saudi Arabia on Sept 8.

The minister said he had visited the countrywide Haji camps and found that of Lahore to be without adequate facilities and ordered corrective measures.

He said his ministry would ensure that the Haj flights take off and land without delay.

Mr Yousaf said work on China-Gwadar expressway would soon begin and in the first stage, the expressway would be built from China to Mansehra.

“This project will bring prosperity and development to the country,” he said.

Local MPAs Salah Mohammad Khan and Sardar Mohammad Zahoor were also in attendance.

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