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    GHAZNI, Dec 18th 2008: View of Ghazni city covered by snow after first snowfall in current winter. PAJWOK/Shir Ahmad HaiderBusiness & Economics

    Locals to be paid for keeping roads clear of snow

    GHAZNI CITY/MAZAR-I-SHARIF (PAN): Ordinary people would be encouraged to take part in snow removing from roads in southern Ghazni province this winter, an official said on Sunday.

    More than 655 kilometres of roads are estimated to be kept cleared of snow across Ghazni this year, provincial public works director, Eng. Qurban, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    He said the reason behind involving local people in snow-clearing process was corruption in private companies' works. He said private firms took long time to complete snow removing operations. He said people would work honestly as clearing roads of snow would make their own journey safe. They would be paid 4,000 to 7,000 afghanis per kilometer, he said.

    Elsewhere, around 1,000 recently repatriated Afghan families from Pakistan and Iran were provided winter aid in northern Balkh province.

    The $10 million assistance was provided to returnees in Charbolak, Chamtal, Sholgara, Balkh and Daulatabad districts, said provincial refugee and returnee director, Abdul Saboor.

    He said each family received three sacks of flour, two bags of coal, two tarpaulins and a gas cylinder.

    Two blankets, gloves, socks and shoes were also distributed to each family, he said.

    "The assistance is enough for one month," a recipient, Ahmad Zia said.

    He said the government should also provide them food items to fight the chilly weather.