SHANGLA DISTRICT: The Grand Qomi Jirga Bisham has asked Wapda to hold back from inaugurating the Khan Khwar Hydel power project until the power issues of the Shangla District are resolved.
While addressing a meeting the Chairman of the Jirga, Mohammad Sohrab Khan, said that this government and all previous governments had ignored the power situation in the region.
The Jirga demanded that at least 5 megawatts of electricity be provided to local areas and until then they will not allow Wapda to inaugurate the power project. “Our people are suffering from many social injustices, the poor remain poor while the people in Islamabad are enjoying living luxuriously at our expense,” Sohrab said.
The floods, he said, had only made the power situation in the region worse. “A majority of the areas in the district are deprived of electricity and the floods have only made this situation worse,” he said.
Locals feel that they too have rights on the electricity generated by the Micro Hydel Power set up on the Khan Khwar stream, producing 75 megawatts of electricity.
“Thousand of people have been directly affected because of the construction of the dam as hundreds of their watermills were destroyed and thousands of acres of agriculture lands were inundated with water,” a resident of the area said.
“If Wapda fails to accept our demands they will have to face dire consequences,” a member of the Jirga said. The Jirga demanded that the President, Asif Ali Zardari, and Prime Minister, Yusuf Raza Gilani, take notice of this situation and take serious steps to rectify the power situation in the region.
“We provide the nation 75 megawatts of electricity, the least they can do is give us 5 megawatts,” the Jirga said.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 1st, 2010.