Chitral Today
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Solar-powered irrigation project launched near Drosh

CHITRAL, Nov 16: The Sarhad Rural Support Program (SRSP) has started launching solar-powered irrigation schemes in Chitral to bring barren land under cultivation. solarIn the inaugural ceremony of first such scheme in Khairabad village near Drosh on Saturday, speakers said prosperity will usher in the area if the scheme succeeds which will increase the individual land holding. The scheme financed by the Program of Economic Empowerment and Community Empowerment (PEACE) has been designed to pump the river water into an altitude of 360 feet at two stages where solar powered water pumps have been installed. The Chitral River flowing longitudinally across the valley from Baroghil to Arandu at a stretch of 340 kilometers has its topographic position such it cannot be channelized to irrigate the vast expanses of arid tracts of land. Addressing on the occasion, the chief executive officer of SRSP, Shahzada Masoodul Mulk, said gravity flow irrigation system was not possible due to its specific topography due to which it was decided to put into test the solar system. “It will replicated in the numerous places in the length and breadth of Chitral where scarcity of irrigation water was the main hurdle in agriculture development and abysmally low per acre yield”, he said. Mr. Mulk asked the local community to extend their all out help and cooperation to make the scheme a success which is predestined to change the very fate of the poor farmers with small pieces of land marred by shortage of water. “I will plant a sapling in the piece of land irrigated by the scheme in the month of March next”, he said pointing towards the wasteland of Khairabad and said that the scheme will be completed within four months time at a cost of 3.881 million rupees. The SRSP chief urged upon the community members to strictly adhere to the rules of community participation and do away with parochial politics and at the same time held the representatives of the local organization accountable to ensure fairly consumption of the funds and make the scheme a success. The other speakers including commandant Chitral Scouts colonel Naeem Iqbal, SRSP district chief Tariq Ahmed, board member of SRSP Ehsanullah Khan, community representative Sultanur Rahman and others termed the project of prime importance in the area. They said the PEACE project has been launched through the SRSP in the Malakand Division by European Union which was devastated by terrorism and flood some years ago leading to destruction of physical infrastructure and poverty in the area. They said that the distant villages of the district are being provided with electricity by micro-hydro power stations by the project which will held reduce pressure on the oak and deodar forest on one hand and raise the standard of life on the other. Also present on the occasion were project manager of PEACE, Engineer Zahid Khan, project auditor Khadimullah and district engineer Altaf Hussain Shah.–Zahiruddin]]>

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