Power shortage: Many Kandahar factories closed
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Around 200 factories have been closed in southern Kandahar province owing to insufficient power supply, rendering more than 5000 people jobless, industrialists said on Wednesday.
Accompanied by owners of ten factories, Haji Faizul Haq Mushkanai, the Kandahar Industrialists Union president and owner of a paper mill, told a press conference here on Wednesday that three megawatts of electricity was provided to the industrial park in Kandahar City against the required 10 megawatts .
Several factories in Kandahar produce cotton, cooking oil, soaps, ice, cattle food, paper, tissue papers, plastic pipes, food items and non-alcoholic drinks.
Two big diesel-run generators have been installed in Kandahar City with the help of USAID and the US army that supply electricity to the industrial park and parts of the city.
Mushkanai said after hectic efforts by his colleagues, foreign troops and other organizations provided fuel for the generators by the end of 2014.
He said the Breshna Shirkat had failed to fill the electricity supply vacuum, forcing them to shut down their factories.
He demanded the World Bank (WB) and the government address the power shortage problem to save the billions of dollars of investment.
He said many Afghans had returned from Pakistan and Iran to invest in the province by establishing factories and it was government’s responsibility to protect their capital.
Haji Baridad, another office-bearer of the union, informed most of the factories had been closed because of low power voltage.
Due to the ongoing situation, he said, the industrial sector had suffered $10 million in losses and demanded the international community and the government resolve the crisis urgently.
Haji Sayed Ahmad Selab, a provincial council member, said the closing down of factories had rendered thousands of labourers jobless.
Of 33 megawatts Kandahar is supplied from the Kajaki hydropower plant, only 12 megawatts reach the province and the rest is being wasted to damaged lines.
Selab said the last 13 years saw huge amounts of money arriving, but benefited nobody. The bulk of the money, he said, was spent on purchasing fuel and generators.
He voiced support for industrialists and said a way would be found to provide electricity to the industrial park.
Eng. Sayed Rassoul, Da Afghanistan Brishna Sherkat (DABS) head in Kandahar, said demand for electricity had increased by 52 percent while the generation capacity remained the same.
He said efforts were ongoing to provide more electricity to Kandahar from the Kajaki Dam and other sources, including those in Kabul.
Kandahar normally needed 150 megawatts of electricity but it was supplied only 12 megawatt, he added.
Allah Baz, another industrialist, said power supply to their factories had been cut off since a week, creating a lot of trouble for them. He added more than 150 factories had stopped functioning at the industrial park due to power shortage.
He accused the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA) and the Ministry of Commerce of negligence and warned they would block the Kabul-Kandahar highway if their problems were not resolved.
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