ISLAMABAD-The Karot Hydropower Project, which is the first power sector initiative completed under the CPEC, has significantly changed the lives of local communities.
As the largest hydropower project in the private sector to generate 3.2 billion units of clean and green energy per year, the Karot hydel station has significantly improved the lives of the local people by providing better health and education facilities.
It is a run-of-the-river project built on the Jhelum River in the peripheries of the Rawalpindi district by the Karot Power Company (KPCL), in which China Three Gorges South Asia Investment (CSAIL) holds a majority share. The power station is located near the villages of Karot in Rawalpindi and Hollar in AJK, roughly 55 kilometres southeast of Islamabad.
More than 4,000 people have been employed in different roles, with 85% of them being hired from local communities. A number of health units have been upgraded in the area, including the Kahuta Emergency Hospital and some other basic health units. Similarly, dispensaries and road infrastructure have also been developed. Talking to WealthPK on condition of anonymity, a senior official of the CPEC Authority, Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, said approximately 4,000-5,000 people were recruited during construction of Karot hydropower project. He said the project would help Pakistan in is efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2031. Muhammad Ayaz, a resident of Kunan village adjacent to the Karot power station, said he used to teach in a single-room school situated at the site of the power station. “After the construction of the power station the school was relocated to Kunan village four years ago. The Chinese company has rebuilt this school with five to six rooms and provided facilities such as water supply, furniture, washrooms and boundary wall, benefiting the local communities.” He said a road to the village was constructed, making it easier for local residents to connect to the main roads. “Previously, people used to enrol their children in the school at the age of 6-7 years as the school was located at quite a distance, but now people are enrolling their children at the age of 4-5 years as the school is nearby,” Ayaz said.
“We are quite satisfied with the work done in our area following the construction of the power project,” he maintained.
In the past, Ayaz said, the village school had limited space, which forced parents to enrol their children in schools in other areas. “However, most of parents didn’t send their children, especially girls, to far-away schools due to rough terrain and absence of an asphalt road to connect villages,” he pointed out. “It was particularly harder for girls to get education even up to primary level, but the construction of a spacious school in our village has resolved this problem,” Ayaz said.
He said the education department has also appointed two science teachers to the school.
Muhammad Yaseen, another resident of Kunan village, said the locals are thankful to the Chinese company for building a beautiful mosque in their village. “We are particularly thankful to the construction company for building a carpeted road, linking our village to the main road and resolving our communication problems in this modern era.”