CHITRAL: Federal Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan inaugurated the 306-kilowatt hydropower station in far-flung Gazen village of Yarkhoon valley here on Saturday.

The project was completed by Aga Khan Rural Support Programme, which would electrify 335 households of the five sparsely-populated villages.

Accompanied by the country director of KfW German Bank, Wolfgang Moller, and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund chief executive officer Qazi Azmat Isa, the donors of the project, the federal minister formally inaugurated the powerhouse by plucking the ribbon. A large number of local people, including women, were also present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Omar Ayub said that it was the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan to fully exploit the potential of renewable sources of energy in the country, which was not only the cheapest in per unit rate, but also environment friendly.

He said that the generation of electricity from renewable sources would exceed 30,000-megawatt during the next couple of years.

Omar Ayub says energy potential of the district will be fully exploited

Mr Ayub said that Chitral was one of the areas bestowed with hydropower potential which would be exploited to full during the coming years. He said that the electricity would be used to bring about prosperity in this backward area thus far deprived of basic facilities, including road communication and healthcare.

He appreciated the AKRSP for its accomplishment in organising the communities for development in Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan.

“The prime minister wants development of the country by promoting and strengthening the youth and he has taken a number of measures in this direction, including Kamyab Nowjawan programme,” he said.

He said that the womenfolk could augment the household economy by raising chicken and livestock to change the very fate of their families.

Mr Ayub also announced to scale up the skills of women in Chitral so that their handmade handicrafts and other products attracted the attention of global market.

Addressing the gathering, Wolfgang Moller expressed his pleasure over completion of the project and said that while enjoying electricity they should remember those German people who provided a part of their income for such works.

He said that it was an excellent example of people-to-people connection and making joint efforts for fighting poverty and raising the standard of life of those living in marginalised areas.

Hamida Bibi, a resident of the village, told the guests how electricity would bring about a positive change in the lives of women as they would utilise it to revolutionise the cottage industry and earn more to support their families.

AKRSP general manager Muzaffaruddin presented gifts and souvenirs to the guests and thanked them on behalf of the local community.

Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2019

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