Kandahar City needs 300-km roads: mayor
KANDAHAR CITY (PAN): Roads measuring 40 kilometres were built in southern Kandahar City since last year, but nearly 300-km roads still need to be paved, the mayor said on Sunday.
Mohammad Omar Omar told Pajhwok Afghan News during an exclusive interview the city population had reached 1.5 million individuals and the number of police districts increased to 15 from 10.
The population growth has made it difficult to determine borders of Kandahar City, but efforts were underway to address the issue, Omar said.
He said Kandahar dwellers’ key demands were paved roads, streets, overhauled streams and an improved canalisation system.
The mayor called the municipality last year’s revenue that stood at $1 billion as insufficient to meet the demands of the growing population.
He said projects worth nearly 300 million afghanis were executed last year. The projects included 25km of roads, streets, bridges and others, he explained.
About 197 million afghanis were spent on similar projects over the past six months, he said, adding the new projects included the construction of a 15-km road.
On tax collection efforts, he said the municipality still faced with problems in this regard due to lack of cooperation on the part of police, businessmen and government departments.
The mayor said the municipality’s income came from 50 sources including cleanliness tax, work permits tax and the most important tax on commercial goods being taken at city entrances.
However, he complained some people failed to pay taxes on time and police did not cooperate with municipality officials in preventing violations of taxes at the city’s gates.
Omar also accused some government departments of not cooperating with the municipality when it came to taxes, saying the provincial Customs Department owed 18 million afghanis to the municipality.
He cited unauthorised and unplanned constructions another big problem facing his department.
He said some powerful individuals, trying to evade the municipality’s rules, had many times tried to construct buildings during night time, but such attempts had been foiled.
Previously, commercial buildings and marketplaces had been built without washrooms and other such facilities, but the municipality has been denying permits to such builders over the past three years, Omar said.
The mayor said under a new plan, marketplaces for fresh and dried fruits and exclusive areas for vehicle mechanics and others were being identified.
On land-grab incidents, the official said powerful elements continued to usurp public and private lands through clever tactics. However, he said his department had intensified efforts at preventing such illegal actions.
He claimed up to 2500 acres of land had so far been retaken from illegal occupants and that efforts were in place to reinstitute other lands.
A list carrying names of 200 illegal land grabbers has been prepared and sent to the president, Omar revealed.
In order to intensify efforts at resolving people’s problems and complaints, the mayor said an information centre at the municipality was being established and doors of the centre would remain open for the people.
He said the centre would help resolve people’s problems under a single roof and also help prevent corruption.
A building for the proposed centre has been 40 percent completed and the rest was expected to be completed over the next two months.
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