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CHITRAL: The Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP) has constructed a hydro power station in Shikarwaz village to provide electricity to the remote Baroghil valley.

The ground breaking ceremony of the 30 kilowatt power station was performed by Pak Army’s General Officer Commanding of Swat division Maj-Gen Javed Bukhari.

On the occasion, SRSP chief executive officer Shahzada Masoodul Mulk told the gathering that the power project was funded by the European Union under the Programme for Economic Advancement and Community Empowerment (Peace).

He said that Baroghil was the most backward area of the district with no basic facilities of life and only a jeep-able track led to the area, which was constructed by Pak Army, last year. He said that provision of electricity to the remote valley would help raise life standard of local people.

Meanwhile, talking to Dawn, local residents termed the provision of power supply a historical development in the history of the isolated and inaccessible valley, where people even couldn’t identify the electric bulb.

Haidar Khan of Chikar village of the valley said that due to high altitude, no trees were grown in the valley which created shortage of fuel wood. He said that people used dried grass and cow dung for cooking and heating purposes. He pointed out that burning of cow dung created health problems for people during winter season.He said that if the hydropower potential of the valley was fully exploited, it would bring about a real change in the people’s lives. He said that Chiantar glacier, which was situated in the valley, fed the Chitral River, which needed to be exploited for hydroelectric generation.

Mohammad Wazir, former Yarkhoon union council nazim, said that the hydropower station would herald progress and prosperity in the border valley. He said that dozens of micro hydropower stations could be constructed in the valley and urged the NGOs to do their part in that regard.

Meanwhile, another 75 kilowatt micro hydropower station was inaugurated by SRSP in Shiekhanadeh village of Kalash valley of Rumbur. Both the Kalash and Muslim communities of the area rejoiced the occasion as the villages still lacked the electricity facility.

SRSP chief executive officer Shahzada Masoodul Mulk also visited three villages of upper Chitral to hold dialogue with the local community organisations for construction of more micro hydropower stations.

Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2014