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Govt. fails to keep dam rebuilding promiseBy Saifullah Maftoon Apr 7, 2013 - 18:02
GHAZNI CITY (PAN): Residents of southern Ghazni province on Sunday reminded the government to honour its promise of initiating reconstruction work on the Band-i-Sultan dam.
Hundreds of dwellers who visited the irrigation department said they had asked the director to develop canals and utilise the funds set aside for the key dam in the Jaghatu district.
Haji Bismillah, a resident of Khwaja Omari district, said local officials had promised last year reconstruction work on the dam would be launched in near future, but they had failed to honour the promise.
He added officials had previously cited insecurity as a major reason behind their inability to start work on the dam. The elder continued residents had negotiated with the Taliban, who had agreed not to create problems for the dam's construction.
"The Taliban have given us written guarantees which we have delivered to the officials concerned, but still practical work is awaited," Bismillah said.
Deh Yak resident and tribal elder Mohammad Sharif accused the government of making false claims about the dam over the past eight years. "They make promises, but don't act."
The elder said they had twice visited water and energy officials in Kabul, but failed to elicit a positive response.
Deputy Ghazni governor Mohammad Ali Ahmadi said security in the province had improved, but the water and energy ministry had no interest in carrying out mega projects in Ghazni.
He said residents were ready to keep security for the dam project, but the ministry used the word insecure to hide its incompetency to initiate job-creating projects.
Provincial council chief Azizullah Poya said public representatives had held talks with the Maidan Wardak governor to push for the dam's reconstruction a month back, but nothing happened.
He said efforts made over the past decade to develop the dam had failed to yield any result. He said the dam had equal importance for residents of Ghazni and Maidan Wardak.
Currently used for irrigating 15,000 hectares of land, Poya said the dam had the potential to meet electricity needs of 50,000 families.
The public representative said the dam, having a 1000 years history, had been discussed with officials of public works and energy ministries, but they cited security concerns for their failure to develop it.
Ghazni irrigation department head Shafiqullah Jehani confirmed funds for the dam had been allocated, but work could not be launched, pending to a technical study.