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    Helmandis fret over frequent power outages

    LASHKARGAH (PAN): Residents of southern Helmand province on Tuesday complained they had electricity supply for just 12 hours every four days.

    The existing power supply level did not meet their needs, said a resident of the Karta Lagan area on the outskirts of provincial capital, Lashkargah.

    Hussein Ali told Pajhwok Afghan News there was no power outage in central parts of the province, but remote areas were being subjected to inordinately long loadshedding. He urged the officials concerned to ensure even and smooth power supply to all residents.

    According to Muhammad Hussain, a resident of the Sapi area of Kajaki district, said they were facing multiple problems like a shortage of water and a lack of heating systems at homes. The prolonged power outages had also sent fuel prices soaring, he continued.

    Electricity is provided to several districts of Helmand and Kandahar provinces from the Kajaki hydroelectrical dam. Ironically, residents of the district are experiencing troublesome power outages.

    Ahlullah Ubaidi, confirming the problem, identified a growing shortage of water and falling electricity generation levels as the bane of their lives.

    In the past, the Kajaki dam generated 32 megawatts of electricity, but the production has no fallen to 24 megawatts, according to the reident.

    The head of the Helmand power department said they were supplying four megawatts of power to Lashkargah city, eight megawatts to Kandahar province and the rest to Sangin, Musa Qala and Kajaki districts. Ensuring security, increased water levels and instalation of a new turbine in the dam could resolve the problem.

    “Most of the dam’s water is used for irrigation. If we stop water supply, power generation will go up,” said Eng. Syed Rasul, an official at the power department in Kajaki district.  

    With security getting better in the district, the government, as well as the international community, should reconstruct and expand the dam, suggested the district chief, Sharafuddin. "Some equipment is ready for installation of the third turbine, but relevant officials are yet to take practical steps.”

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