KOHISTAN: Power generation from the recently-completed 132 megawatts (MW) Dobair Khwar Hydropower Plant remained suspended for the fourth day in a row following protests and siege of a power house at the facility, residents and officials informed on Thursday.
Electricity from the station was suspended on June 9 when residents of Dobair and Pattan villages, on the call of Pattan Qaumi Islahi Committee, laid siege to the power station in support of their demands which they claim have not been honoured by the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda).
Protesters also blocked the Karakoram Highway suspending traffic for several hours on the vital road link.
According to Malik Badshah, leader of the Pattan Qaumi Islahi Committee, when the government obtained their land for the project, Wapda had agreed to provide them 17,000 free electricity connections and bills would have a special rebate of Rs5 per unit.
“They have not fulfilled their promises and instead subjected us to severe load-shedding and suspension of power supply to several villages supplied by the Pattan feeder,” said Malik Fazale Haq, a senior local leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid.
He said despite zero cases of power theft in the area, Wapda is punishing residents for their sacrifices.
He added unless power is restored to the Pattan feeder and Wapda honours its agreement with landowners, villagers will not allow the power plant to resume electricity generation.
Meanwhile, an official working at the power plant said the district administration is negotiating with local elders to persuade them to allow power generation on the assurance that their demands would be taken up with Wapda.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 13th, 2014.
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