HUNZA :- Pictures Cyleem Baig and Mansuur Ali
Ahmedabad community ran it’s first Hydro-power station in 2008 with the help of Aga Khan Rural Support programme. It produces 190 kilowatts electricity an hour which is enough to supply power to 144 homes in Ahmedabad and 100+ homes in nearby villages of Faizabad and Sultanabad.
The second Phase was opened this year with capacity of 450 kilowatts. Whole Altit valley is covered by this Power station and a 3rd phase of Hydro-power station in Ahmedabad is now under construction.
Hydro-power plant has changed the life’s of people of Ahmedabad, Altit, Faizabad and Sultanabad, as now everyone uses electric utensils for cooking, for cleaning and student now can study at night in presence of light and they no longer miss school to help their families collect firewood. The life has now become much easier specially for women, as it has relieved so much work from their shoulders.
Earlier they have to walk very long distances to collect firewood and when they burn wood for fuel, the smoke from the stove spread all around and make them uncomfortable to sit in the kitchen. But now thanks to the Community of Ahmedabad, now the cooking food and other chores in the kitchen have become considerably easier and stress-free. They use electricity in almost every work which is much cheaper and readily available in Ahmedabad, Altit, Faizabad and Sultanabad.
These type of small scale hydro-power plants are proving a key way to provide electricity to area’s located at high altitude in Pakistan while at the same time keeping the environment safe from cutting down of trees. Such type of small scale hydro-power plants are planted throughout Gilgit Baltistan over the past few years, as a result natural forests in the pastures in Gilgit Baltistan and Hunza Valley are coming back to life.
According to a 2006 report by the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB), our country has potential to generate around 100,000 megawatts of hydroelectricity. The government of Pakistan should exploit the hydropower potential to the fullest, rather than the expensive option of fuel-based power plants, which become a burden on the economy in the long-run.
Report shared by Aly Shahh Mughul