Govt drags its feet on restoration of Reshun powerhouse

RESHUN: Even years after the destruction of Reshun powerhouse by floods, the government has not taken any steps to restore it.

The two generators were sent by the KP government and dropped on the Chitral-Mastuj road at Green Lasht 12 days ago. Another generator sent by the provincial government is still lying in Green Lasht and needs a crane to shift it to the site of the powerhouse.

The negligence of the local administration can be gauged from the fact that the generators worth over Rs500 million were left on the roadside without any security official guarding them. Since 2015, thousands of people in upper Chitral have been without electricity as the provincial government failed to reconstruct the only powerhouse in Reshun after it was damaged in the floods.

Fed up with the callous attitude of the government, the local people last year launched Tehreek Bahali-e-Reshun Bijligar (movement for the restoration of the Reshun powerhouse). They staged a protest sit-in at Ramdas Chowk in Reshun for many days. At last, the provincial government announced to provide power generators for the damaged powerhouse in order to shut the mouths of the protesters.

One of the generators was sent to the area about a month ago but no one bothered to shift it to the site for installation. This generator is still rusting in Green Lasht. In the meantime, two more generators reached the area on Saturday in seven trucks along with affiliated equipment. One of the residents told ChitralToday that none of the concerned authorities of the local administration or the power utility company was ready to take responsibility or own the generators for installation or at least for shifting to the site.

The resident engineer of the KP power utility company is sitting idle in the Reshun Gol and have no work to do. “Besides, our MPA Sardar Hussain has also disappeared and is nowhere to be seen to help the people in making the generators functional through the concerned quarters,” he added.

He also criticized MNA Shahzada Iftikharuddin for not raising a voice for resolving the power crisis of the area. As a result, the residents were compelled to come out and move the two generators to the site on a self-help basis on Saturday.

He said due to the continuous negligence of the communication and work (C&W) department in the reconstruction of the road to the Reshun Gol after its damage in 2015, the residents faced too much hardship while shifting the generators to the site. After taking the generators to the site, the residents demanded that the officials concerned should make arrangements for their installation so that power supply can be restored to the area at least for temporarily.

However, the resident engineer told the residents that technical staff needed to come from outside Chitral to install the generators. The RE also said the contractor for the powerhouse was not present in Chitral without whom the generators could not be installed.

The residents warned that they would launch another protest from August 20 if the generators were not installed to restore power supply to the area. On the other hand, work on the restoration of the damaged transmission lines from the powerhouse to different areas is also continuing at a snail’s space.

Another resident told ChitralToday that it took seven days to install a transmission line from Reshun to Shogram over the river. If the attitude of the government departments remained the same there is no hope that power from the Reshun plant would be restored to the consumers anytime soon, he added.

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