SHANGLA: People of Lahore-Bisham areas in Shangla district on Wednesday warned Wapda of starting a protest movement if name of the Thakot hydropower project was not changed, saying the project was being constructed in Shangla district and Thakot was part of Battagram district.

In this regard, a meeting of elders of Lahore-Bisham was held here at the adjoining Lahore village. Local elders, including Umar Hayat, Sultan Room, Zahir Shah, Bakht Rawan and Noor Jehan, also spoke on the occasion.

Thakot dam site is to be located in a narrow section of Indus River, about 2km upstream of Bisham Qila, and the powerhouse 15km downstream of Thakot Bridge, sources said. They claimed that the project would have installed capacity of 4,000 megawatt. They claimed that the project started by Wapda in Dec 2015 would be completed in Nov 2017.

Malik Bashir, a resident of Lahore village, said that the 26-kilometer power tunnel would start from Lahore- Bisham and end in Sarkool. He said that the power tunnel would start in Shangla district and end in Sarkool, a part of Shangla district, then why the Wapda named it as Thakot hydropower project.

“We will soon hold a jirga to press for renaming the project according to the area where it is located in Shangla district. Wapda has overlooked our area which will be affected and beneficiaries will be from other districts,” Sultan Room, a resident said.

Husnul Maab, another resident, said that areas which would be affected by the dam were located in Lahore-Bisham, so it should be named as Lahore hydropower project. They said that Thakot was part of Allai tehsil and had no link with the power tunnel.

Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2016