Govt asked to build dams on key rivers
KABUL (PAN): Amid fears that unresolved water disputes could spark a regional conflict, hundreds of people in four provinces on Monday asked the government to harness the resources by building hydropower dams.
Residents of eastern Kunar, southeastern Khost, northern Balkh and southern Helmand provinces held gatherings, asking the government to make more efforts at building dams and controlling its water resources.
Kunar traders' council chief, Haji Syed Azam, reminded the Kabul government of its promise to construct a mega hydropower dam on the river.
“Despite having enough water resources, our irrigation system remains dysfunctional and we use old-fashioned lamps to light homes,” he lamented.
The meeting observed a five-minute silence before announcing a fund-raising campaign for the construction of the dam on the Kunar River.
A similar decision was taken at a gathering in Khost, with participants calling on people to contribute generously to a fund aimed at constructing a dam on Kunar River.
“The people of Khost want to raise fund for the dam to bring shame on the international community for its unfulfilled promises,” said Ilyas Wehdat, a civil society activist.
Political analyst Amir Shah Kargar said water was a matter of life and death for the Afghans as it protected them from starvation. He said rivers in Afghanistan had key economic and geopolitical effects on the lives of its residents.
He said if the international community wanted to create jobs for the Afghans and provide them sustainable electricity, it has to build a hydropower dam on the Kunar River.
In Balkh, a literary figure, Javed Wak, said 500 billion cubic meters of water worth to $500 billion flowed to neighbouring countries from Afghanistan.
In Helmand, civil society and traders met in Lashkargah, the provincial capital, asking the authorities to build dams on rivers in order to reduce the amount of water flowing out of the country.
The traders' union head, Ali Ahmad Nasiri, said the government and the international community had not been able to construct dams on the Kunar and Helmand rivers over the past decade.
He said thousands of acres of lands in Afghanistan lacked irrigation water while the country's water resources benefitted large swaths of lands in Pakistan and Iran.
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