'3rd turbine at Kajaki dam in a year's time'
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Governor Mohammad Naeem on Tuesday said the much-delayed third turbine at the Kajaki hydropower dam in southern Helmand province would be made operational in a year’s time.
Presiding over a meeting on the dam’s construction, Naeem said security threats had been a reason behind the failure to install and make operational the third turbine.
He added the United States had promised funding the project, but the Americans were concerned about insecurity.
The governor said work on the turbine’s installation and the extension of power transmission lines from the dam to Lashkargah, the provincial capital, would be launched soon.
He said Afghan security forces were ready to help transfer construction materials to the site and protect the construction process.
Naeem said the project would generate jobs for a large number of Helmand residents and electricity for Helmand and Kandahar.
A series of security operations had been conducted in districts in Helmand’s north to eliminate security threats and pave the ground for the project’s implementation.
A plan is being devised in coordination with foreign forces to improve security around the dam.
Helmand police chief Brig. Gen. Abdul Qayum Baqizoi also said the police were ready to guard transportation of materials and implementation of the project.
The security situation on the road between Lashkargah and Kajaki district had improved and it was hoped the transfer of construction materials to the dam would cost less, Baqizoi said.
Meanwhile, Helmand Energy and Water Director Eng Faizullah Dawari said funds previously allocated for the dam’s construction had already used and more funds were needed for the project.
But Lashkargah residents said they had been hearing such news and promises since long, but nothing could be done in practical.
A Lashkargah dweller Saifuddin said people were confused about the dam’s fate. He claimed the electricity extended from the dam to Lashkargah had not been equally distributed.
About $400 million has so far been injected to the dam’s construction over the past seven years, but the dam is yet to meet the demand of electricity in Helmand and Kandahar.
The third turbine with the capacity to produce 18.5 megawatts of power has been funded by a US company, and incurs a total cost of $266 million.
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