The Chitral town hydel power house was constructed in 1975 as a result of efforts of the then MNA Ataliq Jafar Ali Shah. It began operations with a rated output of one megawatt and soon with two additional generators added, it was producing 1.6 megawatts of electricity.
Today after 34 years, population of the town has increased many fold and electricity demand more than quadrupled but the power house is generating less than one megawatt of power ie even less than what it generated when it was commissioned.
According to experts studying the power house, it possesses the capacity to produce upto five megawatts of power with the existing water channel and structure. The two turbines which are lying unserviceable and the other two which are functioning but are dilapidated and inefficient, need to be replaced and the power house would produce five megawatts of electricity, enough to light the town for the next two decades at least .
As WAPDA(PESCO), the controlling authority of the powerhouse has failed to maintain it, it is now the requirement of the time that the power house be taken over from WAPDA and given to the private sector in Chitral. For this the District Administration and elected representatives can play their part in setting up ‘Chitral Electric supply Corporation’ which should be an autonomous body responsible for operations maintenance and distribution of power from the hydel station. Examples are already available in Chitral of private parties successfully running power stations equally big.
It is culpable neglect on the part of those responsible, to not upgrade the powerhouse with fresh machinery, which can be done with little effort and at a meager cost, to eliminate the curse of power shortage afflicting Chitral town, once for all.