CHITRAL: The Pawoor village of Yarkhoon valley, situated 200 kilometres from the Chitral district headquarters, started getting electricity supply from a local mini hydropower station after its opening on Sunday amid celebrations by the people for the ‘big day’.

Accompanied by chief executive officer of Aga Khan Foundation Akhtar Iqbal, Swiss Ambassador to Pakistan Thomas Kolly flew to the village to inaugurate the station which was financed by the Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (SDC), costing Rs194 million, including Rs10 million community share.

On the occasion, the Swiss envoy expressed his pleasure over the completion of the hydropower project with the active participation of the local community and said that the electricity would bring about behavioural change among people and would lead to development in all sectors.

“I also belong to a mountainous area like Yarkhoon Laspur and know the problems of the people in all sectors of development and feel how the electricity is crucial for their uplift and conservation of environment.”

Mr Kolly said that like his country Yarkhoon valley had a unique landscape to make it a paradise for tourists and the locals should take steps to attract tourists from within the country as well as all over the world.

Appreciating the presence of women in the gathering, the Swiss ambassador said that participation of women in the development process was inevitable.

On the occasion, Akhtar Iqbal said the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) had so far completed over 200 mini and micro hydropower stations in Chital, of which, the one in Pawoor village was the largest.

He said the foundation was conscious to the fact that provision of energy to people meant improvement in education, health and social uplift.

He appreciated the active and tangible support of SDC in all the power projects launched by the foundation since the last four decades in Chital and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Mr Iqbal urged the community members to forge unity for development and progress of their region.

AKRSP general manager Muzaffaruddin recounted how the programme had helped set up village organisations in Chital and GB, preparing them for collective development of the community.

He urged the youth to follow their elders who had accomplished development with meager resources provided by the non-governmental organisations and the completion of power project of 800KW was not an ordinary job to accomplish.

Sardar Ayub, regional programme manager of AKRSP, said the power project, being the largest hydropower house set up by his organisation in Chital and GB, would benefit 1,200 households of the valley.

Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2018