MINGORA: The Ashuran Power House generating 1.2 megawatts of electricity has started producing electricity on test basis which is considered a big economic boost to scenic Kalam valley of the Swat district.
The power house has been set up by Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP) with the assistance of the European Union under the Peace Project.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organisation (PEDO) had handed the two dysfunctional power houses at Kalam to the SRSP in 2013 to restore them and run them as a social enterprise.
This was part of the government’s initiative to bring innovative solution to the local problems in remote regions. Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, Pakistan, Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan and its senior leader Jehangir Tareen had personally attended the ground-breaking of the project in 2013.
Both these power houses at Jungle Inn and Ashuran have been set up by the then Sarhad Hydel Development Organisation (SHYDO). These had run for some years but had remained dysfunctional for six years after the 2010 floods and the disturbance in Swat.
The Jungle Inn power house generation capacity was raised to 400 kv by the SRSP and restored in 2014 within six months of its work beginning. The 400kv one at Ashuran was raised to 1.2 megawatts and took two years for the physical work on the 5,400 feet channel, including a 174 feet aqueduct and a huge forebay and a very large intake to be completed in July this year.
The Chinese teams took another four months to complete its technical installation. The Jungle Inn Power House is already supplying electricity to 1,100 households and 50 hotels. The Ashuran Power House will supply electricity to another 64 hotels and provide electricity to over 4,000 households over a 14 kilometer area.
It is estimated that Kalam will have a total of 1.6 kv of electricity and estimated 400 kilowatts of excess electricity which would help boost economic activity in the area. Kalam could thus become the first valley in KP with electricity in excess.
The supply of electricity to the hotels has led to elimination of noise pollution from generators in Kalam which was destroying the serenity of the area. It has also helped expand mobile services in the valley and provide electricity to health units and schools.
With the running of Ashuran Power House in Kalam will not have electricity shortages in winters because the water flow unlike Jungle Inn is sufficient at Ashuran to supply electricity to the area.
A formal inauguration of the power house is to be held later. The European Union and senior government officials are expected to attend the ceremony. The Peace Project has taken a major initiative to tap into the water potential of Malakand Division and the PEDO-funded project will impact lives in large parts of the geographically vast and undeveloped area.