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    ADB pledges $75.4m for Greshk hydropower unit

    KABUL (PAN): The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Saturday pledged $75.4 million for upgrading a hydropower unit in the Greshk district of southern Helmand province, officials said.

    A contract to the effect was signed between Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal and ADB's Country Director for Afghanistan Robert Gordon Rinker in Kabul.

    Of the assistance, $43 million would be provided by the bank, $20 by the UK and the remaining 12.4 million by Denmark, Zakhilwal told reporters after signing the agreenment.

    Also present on the occasion was Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) head, Eng. Abdul Raziq Samadi, who said the process of upgrading the hydropower unit would take two years to complete.

    He added the unit was currently producing 1.2 megawatts of electricity, which would be increased to 4.5 megawatts with the expansion of the water channel and renovation of the existing turbines.

    The amount would be released to DABS in debt through the finance ministry. The national power company planned to lay a 30-kilometre power transmission line in Greshk district at a cost of $1.1 million, Samadi said.

    Hundreds of people would be provided work opportunities with the launch of the project, he said, adding nearly 80,000 people would have access to electricity.

    Speaking on the occasion, the ADB country director said the bank had provided Afghanistan an average of $300 million in assistance each year since 2003 for the implementation of basic infrastructure development projects.