Barshamnal: A village in Pakistan where residents pay only Rs 100 for monthly electricity bills
By News Desk
September 11, 2023 09:25 PM
As protests against inflated power bills and frequent power outages continue to erupt across the country, there exists a village in Pakistan where residents pay a mere Rs 100 per month for round-the-clock electricity.
According to a BBC Urdu report, the remote village of Barshamnal, situated in the Buner district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, residents enjoy uninterrupted 24-hour electricity for a mere Rs 100 per month.
This is the result of an initiative undertaken by a neighbor in Barshamnal.
A few years ago, an individual established a small hydropower plant on a rain drain that runs through the heart of the village, providing electricity to every household in the vicinity.
The residents of Barshamnal now enjoy the convenience of lighting, refrigeration, fans, washing machines, and irons within their homes.
The brain behind this local hydropower plant is Shaukat Ali, one of the pioneers in creating such small-scale hydropower plants.
Eight years ago, he invested one million rupees to construct the project, which presently supplies electricity to more than 150 homes.
Barshamnal village is situated in Tehsil Chagharzai, in the northeast, approximately 32 km from Dagar, the Buner district's headquarters.
The village's 1200 families reside near the drain, and while locals have established small power plants along the watercourses, these plants are situated at a distance from their homes and have limited production capacities, leaving many without electricity.
Shaukat Ali's journey into private power generation projects began with advice from a local car mechanic years ago. The mechanic suggested that Ali invest not just for personal gain but to benefit the entire village.
Heeding this advice, Ali acquired a small canal, a room, and equipment from the Gujjar Ghari area of Mardan district. These were used to divert water from a major canal, setting the stage for electricity production.
Barshamnal now boasts seven small hydropower plants, serving around 800 households with affordable electricity. The innovation lies in harnessing flowing water without obstructing its course, a technique known as hydropower. The water is released back into the storm drain after use.
Ali constructed a dam on the rain drain, diverting water into a custom-made canal. This one-kilometer-long artificial conduit elevates the water to a specific height, where it collects in a cement tank before being filled through a 30-inch thick iron pipe.
To regulate this flow, a substantial wall is in place. As water rushes downward, it propels the turbine, thus generating electricity. In periods of low water levels, adjustments to the flow impact power generation.
Barshamnal successful pursuit of affordable and reliable electricity through hydropower serves as a beacon of hope, offering a potential blueprint for other regions grappling with power-related challenges.