KP govt blamed for delay in restoring power supply to upper Chitral


A view of Reshun hydropower station in upper Chitral that was damaged in 2015 flash floods. — Dawn
A view of Reshun hydropower station in upper Chitral that was damaged in 2015 flash floods. — Dawn

CHITRAL: The members of national and provincial assemblies from Chitral have expressed dismay over the cold response of the provincial government to their demand to purchase electricity available with Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) at its recently-completed Golen Gol hydropower station at Koghuzi to provide it to upper Chitral which has been without power supply for last three years.

Talking to Dawn on Sunday, MNA Shahzada Iftikharuddin said after the Reshun hydropower station of Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organization (Pedo) was washed away by flash floods in 2015, its 21,000 consumers were without electricity, but the provincial government did not make any alternative arrangement.

He said the affected people had been holding protests in different parts of Mastuj tehsil, but the provincial government was unmoved. He said as per directives of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, 36MW electricity had been approved for Chitral from Golen Gol project which is ready for wet commissioning within next couple of weeks but Pesco could not provide electricity directly to Mastuj tehsil as it had no transmission infrastructure while the area was covered by Pedo.

Mr Iftikharuddin said the National Assembly Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Reforms had asked Pedo to reach an agreement with Pesco by Jan 5 to settle tariff per unit and provide it to consumers of upper Chitral, but the deadline had elapsed without any result.

“The only reason I see behind the lukewarm response of the PTI government is it fears of political setback in the area if it provided the electricity generated by a power project run by the federal government,” he said.

MPA from upper Chitral, Syed Sardar Hussain Shah, said a unanimous resolution passed in the provincial assembly demanding of the provincial government to purchase electricity from Golen power station for upper Chitral was disregarded.

He said it would not be possible for the government to control the furious people if the power station was commissioned to work and electricity was supplied to lower parts of Chitral which is fed by Pesco.

Mr Shah said upper Chitral was already facing shortage of fuel wood for heating and cooking purposes, and lamented that the people were chopping their green and fruit trees denuding the greenery of the area.

KP government secretary on power and energy could not be contacted to know his version by telephone despite repeated attempts.

Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2018