Strongmen add to miseries of Amu victims
MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Residents of the Kaldar district of northern Balkh province say the Amu River has submerged large swathes of their agriculture lands and local influential figures have grabbed their remaining fields.
The residents held a protest gathering in the town and urged the government to resolve their problems.
A 69-kilometre northern and eastern border of Kaldar district is the large Amu River. North of the river is Uzbekistan and east is Tajikistan. The main village, also called Kaldar, is in the northeastern part of the district, close to the river.
Almost every year, the Amu River submerges several acres of agriculture land. The residents said some powerful individuals had started usurping their remaining lands over the few years.
The protest gathering in the Toorzaq village was attended by hundreds of people coming from various parts of the district.
Resident Mohammad Omar told Pajhwok Afghan News on the sidelines of the gathering that no development work had been carried out in the Kaldar district over the past 13 years and as a result, poverty had increased. He said he lost his 2.5 acres of land to the Amu River.
He said some grazing lands had been submerged in the river and the remaining had been occupied by powerful individuals.
Haji Mohammad Anwar, who heads the Turkmen Council in Balkh, said influential figures added to the miseries of local residents.
He said 25 acres of grazing land along the Amu River had been grabbed by strongmen. He named one of the usurpers as Kazim, but did not go into details.
Pajhwok tried to find Kazim, but did not succeed. Haji Anwar said the usurped land was once used as a military camp during Dr. Najib government, but that time too, the land did not belong to the government. He said they expected the new government to take solid steps toward resolving their problem.
Kaldar district chief Mirwais Hotak confirmed the problem and said they were trying to prevent illegal occupation of meadows. He also said he had been in contact with the Governor’s House to resolve the issue.
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