UPPER DIR: Dwellers of Tar Patar union council, Usherai Dara in Upper Dir have a reason to celebrate. While the country faces several hours of power outages, the region can now generate their own electricity to illuminate their streets and houses.
Programme for Economic Advancement and Community Empowerment (PEACE) Project, a four-year hydro-project funded by the European Union, uses waterfalls in the area to generate electricity. The initiative has been completed by Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP) and will provide electricity to 500 houses of the union council at a cost of Rs5 per unit.
“Now there will be no load-shedding in the village and we won’t have to pay hefty electricity bills every month,” says Hayat Nazeer, an elder of the area.
A two-fold programme aimed at community development, the project also calls for a community of elders to be formed to discuss related issues and adopt key responsibilities regarding the project.
“This project has provided us with awareness of how to find our own solutions to the electricity woes we are facing,” says Shahabuddin, the head of the community. He added they will extend and develop this project further.
“The project has changed our lives,” adds Nazeer, who is a member of the community responsible for looking after the power generation plant.
So far, the project has received a favourable response from locals. A large number of residents plan to extend the project and carry out any repair work that is required once they have extra funds. Furthermore, the SRSP has also provided electricity poles and the necessary wares to locals.
SRSP manager Noor Ajab told The Express Tribune the power project has been constructed with a budget of Rs100 million.
“Wherever we have launched this project, it has provided people with the opportunity to actively participate in its management,” he says. “With time, the residents of Tar Patar will become adequately trained to look after the project once it is completed.”
According to Ajab, there are eight other projects under construction in various areas of Upper Dir which have been supported by locals.
Tar Patar union council has remained largely underdeveloped as there are limited amenities and infrastructure. However, Ajab hopes SRSP will change the status quo through its new electrification scheme.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 15th, 2015.