Hydropower Project Spurs Forest Conservation and Economic Growth in Chitral Village


In the village of Sorech, nestled within Upper Chitral district, the commissioning of a 500-kilowatt hydropower station has sparked a transformative shift in local life. Residents, including Mohammad Nadir, Abdul Nasir, Iqbal Murad, and Musa Khan, joyously shared with reporters that since the station’s inauguration three years ago, not a single tree has been felled for cooking or heating purposes. This shift has not only bolstered the area’s forest cover but also mitigated the threat of flash floods, once a recurring concern.

Previously, during the harsh winter months spanning five long periods, fuelwood was harvested extensively, leading to the depletion of hundreds of trees annually. However, the hydropower project, constructed by the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme as part of its Central Asian Poverty Programme, has alleviated this reliance on firewood.

The villagers, numbering 186 households, now benefit from affordable electricity priced at just Rs4 per unit, thanks to the efforts of the village organization. This access to cheap, clean energy has revolutionized daily life, enabling families to utilize electricity for cooking, heating, lighting, and even promoting local embroidery and weaving products.

Moreover, the economic impact is profound, as money previously spent on purchasing wood is now redirected towards improving living standards. Additionally, the switch to green energy has led to a decrease in diseases linked to inhaling carbon emitted by burning firewood, enhancing the overall well-being of the community.

The success story of Sorech village stands as a testament to the transformative power of sustainable energy initiatives in fostering environmental conservation and socioeconomic development in rural regions.

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