The USAID-sponsored facility has not become functional for months. — Dawn
The USAID-sponsored facility has not become functional for months. — Dawn

KHAR: A 132kv grid station in Bajaur tribal district hasn’t become functional even after missing the Dec 2017 deadline set by the Tribal Electric Supply Company.

Work on the Rs891 million USAID-sponsored project began on Jan 13, 2016, while it was to complete in Dec 2017.

However, the grid station meant o address power crisis in the region has yet to begin operation.

Sources told Dawn that senior Tesco officials had assured the USAID representatives in Dec 2015 during a ceremony in Islamabad that the project would be completed by the end of 2017 but when the project got delay, the USAID expressed concern about it.

They said several senior Tesco officials, including former chief executive officer Engineer Zakaullah Khan Gandapur,visited the region to know about the reasons for delay.

The sources said the then Tesco CEO had showed displeasure with slow work on the grid station and directed the relevant officials to accelerate work, but to no avail.

They said the grid station hadn’t become functional even more than one year after the senior Tesco officials had assured the former Tesco that the grid station would be functional by the middle of 2018.

A senior Tesco official insisted that work on the scheme got delayed as some residents secured a stay order against it from the court over the installation of transmission line towers on their land located between Khar and Chakdara area of Lower Dir district.

He, however, said the project was likely to be functional by the end of 2019.

The residents complained that the long delay in the completion of the foreign-funded project had caused excessive power cuts in the region to their misery.

They said Bajaur, the most populated district in the erstwhile Fata, suffered from a serious power crisis for three decades, as the existing 66kv grid station installed in 1973 was unable to fulfil the region’s energy needs.

Published in Dawn, August 15th, 2019

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