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    Chitral may be the only district of the country which  has more than three times greater amount of electricity

    By Zahiruddin


    CHITRAL: Chitral may be the only district of the country which  has more than three times greater amount of electricity of 36 MW against its present need of only 11 MW with the completion of first unit of Golen Gol hydro power project of WAPDA in Chitral last month.


    The surplus amount of power after fulfilling the needs of domestic needs has the great potential to change the economic uplift of the area leading to prosperity and opulence if used  it to introduce and develop industries in the area.


    The MNA from Chitral Shahzada Iftikharuddin told Chitral Times  that the acute shortage of electricity was the main hindrance for the exploitation of the fabulous deposit of marble in the district which had the potential of creating about 2500 jobs when marble city is established here for which land has already been acquired.

    He said that marble had a fabulous deposit in Southern and central parts of Chitral estimated at thousands of billions of metric tons while a good number of investors have already opted to invest in the project of marble city which is destined to bring about prosperity to the area.


    The lawmaker said that the surplus electricity can also be utilized for promoting industries of Chitrali patti, dry fruit processing and packaging and promote tourism by introducing chairlifts  in the tourist resorts.


    Shahzada Sirajul Mulk, president of Chitral Association for Mountain Areas Tourism (CAMAT),  come out with a novel proposal of introducing cable railway in the area to promote tourism and contends that the topography of the area is such that construction and maintenance of roads in mountainous terrains was a difficult task which required tremendous resources.


    Talking to this scribe, he said that Chitral was divided into 36  valleys segregated by lofty mountains and hills  for which cable railway was the best option to keep the valleys intact with each other and it was the best mode of utilization of the surplus electricity.

    “The cable railway carries double advantage of providing uninterrupted road communication on one hand as well promoting tourism in the area which has been hitherto hampered by the lack of road facilities.


    While in Chitral on excursion trip, a former ambassador of Austria to Pakistan, had evinced keen interest in starting cable communication to the hilly areas using the surplus electricity and had expressed his readiness to search for investors as it was a common mode of transportation there”, he said.


    He said that there were a number of tourist resorts which can be promoted only by chair lift and cable cars which included Birmogh Lusht near Chitral city and situated in the core zone of Chitral Gol National Park where a tourist can see kashmir markhor, snow leopard, brown bear and many exotic species.


    Mr. Mulk said that the old royal fort and a hotel of Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) built in 1993 stood there to accommodate the tourists while presently access to the spot takes more than three hours while the hotel has yet to be opened for the guests due to inaccessibility.


    He said that as per original plan, the hotel was to be accessed through chair lifts but later its planners found that there was no electricity in Chitral to run them and the hotel remains abandoned for the last quarter century.


    He said that there were numerous hilly spots in upper Chitral and Lot Koh valley which can be developed into a full-fledged tourist resorts by connecting them through the chair lifts and cable cars which had become quite possible with the availability of electricity.


    Dr. Inayatullah Faizi, the former project manager of an IUCN project in Chitral, said that as surveyed by IUCN a decade ago, there were thousands of acres of barren land across the country which can be brought under cultivation by lift irrigation in which water is pumped upward from river by using the surplus electricity.

    He said that the construction and maintenance of irrigation channels from the river passing through the hilly terrains and unstable soils and rocks was a difficult and costlier job and the only solution to the problem was the water pumping.


    “The lift irrigation system will not only turn thousands of acres of arid land into arable one but it will increase many times  the agricultural produce which included cereal crops, vegetables and fruits thereby creating jobs for thousands of raw labourers”, he said.


    Regarding the development of cottage industry based on Chitrali patti, hand woven coarse cloth made of sheep wool, Sadiq Amin (a leading trader of Chitrali patti in Peshawar) said that mechanization of the industry will prove a catalyst for its development in terms of production and quality.


    He said that at present, the production of the commodity did not commensurate the demand in the market while the hand weaving process causes the escalation of cost per yard  but its cost will drop making it within the reach of more people and increasing its demand exponentially.


    MPA from Chitral, Syed Sardar Hussain Shah gave yet another way of utilization of the surplus electricity and said that the processing of dry fruits including cold storage will now be possible with the availability of the extra amount of electricity.


    He said that a large quantity of dried fruits was produced in Chitral whose proper dehydration, purification and packaging was not possible for want of electricity.





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