Bumburet, a historical Kalash valley with its own unique culture, is a popular attraction for tourists, both foreign and domestic. Unfortunately, this culturally-rich region suffers from a lack of basic facilities.
The 2010 floods caused great devastation in the region. Agriculture, livestock and manual labour are the major professions here, all of which took a hit after the floods. The dirt track leading to Bumburet was also severely damaged.
The situation was exacerbated by the lack of electricity. The only power source is a Micro-Hydel Power Station (MHP), a small scale power plant set up by the Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP) which was inaugurated on July 10.
Babar, an MHP engineer, told The Express Tribune, “Through SRSP, we have successfully installed 12 MHPs in Chitral, 18 units in Kohistan, 12 in Shangla District and 14 in Swat. Previously, all of the MHPs were handed over to the local communities, but the Bumburet facility is functioning under a different approach.”
About the new approach and improvement in the power unity, Baber explained, “SRSP has made a 50 KW MHP that would fulfil the needs of 106 households. The updated plant has been made in place of the old unit”. Baber said the automatic plant will work under the social enterprise system and will provide electricity to the government exchange, shops and hotels, on a purely commercial basis.
Domestic consumers will be charged Rs5 per unit, while commercial consumers will be charged Rs8 per unit. A lineman, an operator and a meter reader have already been employed. “The revenue collected from billing will be invested in community projects such as health, education and other social issues,” added Baber. Moreover, SRSP is working on water supply schemes, irrigation channels and link roads in Bumburet as well.
“We are grateful to SRSP for providing us with electricity. The best part is that it is cheap and very affordable for everyone here,” said Tanvir, a community activist in Bumburet valley.
The 50 KW Micro-Hydel Power Station was inaugurated by SRSP Chairperson Munnawar Humayun, accompanied by the SRSP Chief Executive Officer Masoodul Mulk and local elders.
In the prevailing nationwide power crisis, MHPs have become a viable alternative in areas such as Gilgit, Chitral, Kohistan, Shangla, and Dir, which have the potential and feasibility to host such plants. The installation of these plants will not only solve power issues in these areas but will help alleviate the power demanded from the national grid as well.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2011.
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such projects is the cry of the day