PESHAWAR, Oct 28: The Citizens for Clean Environment (CCE), an NGO, has called upon the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take suo motu action against the proposed Daral Khwar hydropower project on Daral river, a tributary of the Swat River in Bahrain, Swat.

In a statement on Friday the NGO said it had been informed by the environment protection network in Bahrain that the Sarhad Hydel Development Organisation (Shydo) plans to divert Daral River through a six kilometer tunnel into Daral valley from Bahrain, and at the same time to divert the water at Purana Gaun to the east of Bahrain. Besides, a six kilometer road would be built along the tunnel.

“More than 30,000 people in Bahrain and the valley are dependent on the river for drinking and irrigation. The river also sustains the environment and tourism.

The river is the most fascinating tourist destination in Swat valley and the backbone of economy.

Each summer hundreds of tourists come to Bahrain and rent houses mostly built on either sides of the river. Similarly, there are over 50 hotels and restaurants, which attract visitors owing to their proximity to the river. In addition there are watermills, privately owned micro hydroelectric generators installed near the river,” the statement pointed out.

The CCE said the local were strongly opposed to the construction of the road, adding more than 40,000 oak trees would have to be felled on the eastern hills of Bahrain, causing flash floods in future and giving access to the timber mafia to the precious deodar trees.

“The diversion of the river will cause tremendous loss to tourism, agriculture, environment and the already diminishing forests, as well as the livelihoods of the local people,” the statement said.

It quoted a report on the project by an independent mission of the ADB that believed that the project did not deserve to be financed; therefore, it withheld the Rs5.56 billion funding.

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