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    NESPAK to design dam on Farah Rud river

    KABUL (PAN): The Ministry of Power and Energy on Sunday signed an agreement with a Pakistani organisation for a detailed engineering design of a dam on the Farah Rud river in western Farah province.

    The river originates in the Band-i Bayan Range and flows 560 kilometres into Helmand swamps on the Afghanistan-Iran border. Farah City, the provincial capital, is located near the river.

    Energy and Water Minister Ismail Khan signed the agreement with Farmanullah, the National Engineering Services Pakistan (NESPAK) chief for Afghanistan. The proposed dam is being built in the Bakhshabad area of Bala Baluk district.

    After signing the agreement, Khan told reporters a survey for the dam project took three years to complete at a cost of $3 million. Fourteen policemen had lost their lives while escorting surveyors, the minister recalled.

    He said NESPAK would complete the design over the next 18 months for more than $4 million, an amount to be paid from the Afghan government budget. But Khan did not say when the $500 million project would be completed.

    Khan said that the 81-metre high dam, with a catchment area of 1.3 million square meters, would produce 27 megawatts of electricity and irrigate 6,890 hectors of land. He appealed to residents to cooperate with the government in successfully executing the project.

    He said since construction work on the Machalghu dam in southeastern Paktia province had not been completed in time, the government was compelled to cancel the project contract.

    But NESPAK official Farmanullah promised his firm would complete the design in the stipulated time.