Army Lights Up LoC Homes
1 August 2004
Jammu: The Army has brought about a revolution of sorts in the lives of the people living along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir by lighting up their homes through power generated from watermills. The Army has sought help from a Dehradun-based NGO to convert the conventional watermills into mini-hydro-electric projects that can generate power and light 25 homes at a time. The Micro-Hydel Project has a capacity to light 25 bulbs besides running graat, the local and traditional thrasher that grinds wheat. This project has been successful in two places in Rajouri and Poonch. One such area to be benefited is Hill Kaka, once known for its heavy presence of militants which the Army cleared after its operation 'Sarp Vinash' last year. 'Now when the Army has cleared the area of the militants, it has embarked on a massive development programme', said Lt Gen Ashok Kapur. The lighting of areas along the LoC also has a psychological impact. Not only does it give the local people the basic necessity of electricity in their homes, it also rids them of taunts that they used to hear from the people living across the border. The villages in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) on the other side of the LoC, which are now barricaded by the barbed wire fence, have light in their homes, thanks to the power generated from the Mangla dam. The Army is hoping to undertake more such projects. In a recent visit to one such project in Poonch, Governor Lt Gen SK Sinha expressed hope that in the next two years, all the villages along the LoC will have electricity generated through watermills.