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Power houses becoming a big headache

CHITRAL, July 9: Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), especially the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), have laid a wide network of small hydropower stations across Chitral’s far-off villages, bringing revolutionary changes in the lives of the residents. However, due to the poor planning by the project sponsors, most of the time these power houses remain out of order as there are neither technicians to repair even small faults nor spare-parts available. The residents said whenever the power house machinery develops a fault, it takes weeks for the organization concerned to bring a technician from Chitral town to rectify it. The problem does not get resolved with the coming of the required person because he only points out the fault and orders the required spare parts. Then the villagers have to send someone to Lahore or any other city to bring the needed spare part at their own expense. Most of the villagers this correspondent talked to complained that due to lack of planning the NGOs had put the village communities in a bind. Rehmat Ali Khan of Marting village told that the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) had sponsored the establishment of a 250 KV power house at Yukum Gol. The facility time and again develops faults and remains out of order for weeks due to unavailability of spare parts and technical know-how. He said in all the power houses in the area the AKRSP had installed generators manufactured by German giant, Siemens, but never bothered to hire technicians to repair any fault or provided the area people with the needed spare parts. Whenever there is a small fault it takes months to get it fixed. “Our power house covers four villages and recently we remained without electricity for three weeks due to a very small fault in the generator.” He said they had to send a villager to Lahore to bring the needed spare part worth only Rs500 by spending thousands of rupees.]]>

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