CHITRAL: Tuesday was a big day for the people of Shagrom village in upper Chitral as the micro-hydropower station was inaugurated to supply electricity to them.
The villagers living in the foothills of Tirich Mir peak of Hindu Kush mountain system clapped for a long time when Chitral Task Force commandant Colonel Moeenuddin inaugurated the 50 kilowatts hydropower station.
The Sarhad Rural Support Programme had executed the project under its Programme for Economic Activity and Community Empowerment at a cost of Rs9.188 million with the financial assistance of the European Union. Colonel Moeen praised villagers for braving tough climatic conditions without having access to basic amenities.
He said he would speak to the relevant government officials for the effective resolution of the people?s problems, especially those on roads, education and healthcare.
The Chitral Task Force commandant announced the opening of a dispensary in the village and construction of two additional classrooms in and provision of basic facilities to the local primary school.
SRSP district programme manager Tariq Ahmad said the Shagrom hydropower station was one of the 25 hydropower projects financed by the European Union in remote villages of the region on need basis.
He said his organisation would help the local communities with the operation and maintenance of power stations to be run as social enterprises, whose income would be used by the community for own development.
Member of Tirich tehsil council Allauddin and community leaders Abdullah and Mohammad Samad said the supply of electricity to the village would bring about a tangible change in the lives of locals and would reduce their expenditure, mostly consumed by firewood and kerosene oil.
They said the people of the valley had waited for a long time to get electricity and the SRSP and EU deserved praise for help in that respect.
Elderly villager Sher Wali said the hydropower project?s successful execution would reduce the people?s expenses on firewood and kerosene oil and thus, helping the people spend more money on other purposes.
He said the electrification of the village would help children and youths continue studying after sunset, while women would also be able to do domestic chores until late at night. Later, Colonel Moeen distributed ration and warm clothes among villagers.
Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2017