Qala-i-Zal residents complain about road conditions
KUNDUZ CITY (PAN): The residents of Qala-i-Zal, a district of northern Kunduz province, are complaining about road conditions.
They say that if the road is paved, it will improve the region’s economy.
The Qala-i-Zal road is 65 kilometres from Kunduz City, and is so badly damaged that it makes transportation difficult.
It takes two hours to traverse the distance to Kunduz City. The toll in each direction is about 200 afghanis, or about $4 per person, and 7 afghanis or about 15 cents per seven kilograms of goods. If the road is paved, the toll is expected to decrease to 50 afghanis, or about $1.05 per person, and 3 afghanis, or about 6 cents, per seven kg of goods.
The district’s population is an estimated 100,000 people, 95 percent of whom are employed in agriculture.
The area’s farmers, complaining of the damaged road, said they must sell their products within the district because it is too expensive and difficult to transport them to Kunduz City.
Abdul Rahman, 50, is a farmer. He told Pajhwok Afghan News that he had brought a bag of wheat to the district's centre that morning, but there was no one to buy it.
He said if the district’s farmers could transport their goods to the capital, they could make more money.
The farmers also said that most of their fruit spoils on the long journey to the provincial capital.
Nurullah, 30, spoke to Pajhwok from behind four baskets of grapes while waiting for customers.
He said: "I am a gardener. I have a half-acre vineyard. The products are good, but there is no market for them in the district, so I have to sell them cheaply or give them away for free."
Meanwhile, the cost of transporting products to the city outweighs the price they could fetch, Nurullah said.
He urged the government to have the road paved.
A Pajhwok reporter who visited the district also noticed the damaged road. On returning from the district, the reporter observed several vehicles caught in the sand and many people, including women and children, waiting for stuck vehicles.
A 40-year-old woman with a nearly two-year-old child in her arms was one of them, and stood by the side of the road in the scorching sun.
Dad Mohammad, the woman's husband, was trying to push the vehicle out of the sand. He said: "My child has had a serious fever for three days, and the district clinic did not cure him, so I am taking him to the city."
Hashmatullah Arshad, the district chief, confirmed that the road is a problem. He said he had several times urged the relevant authorities to address the issue but had met with no success so far.
Mahbobullah Sayedi, the governor's spokesman, said the governor’s office knew of the problem, and was trying to solve it as soon as possible.
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