‘Ghor MPs meddling in district affairs paralyzes system’
FIROZKOH (Pajhwok): A number of residents of Lal-o-Sarjangal district in western Ghor province allege lawmakers’ interference in affairs of local officials have interrupted and paralyzed work in the entire district.
Lal-o-Sarjangal is a remote district of Ghor province bordering Bamyan province. It is among the safest districts in the province, but people complain about challenges in administrative, education, and reconstruction sectors.
The district has 130,000 inhabitants and has three representatives in the national assembly and four representatives in the provincial council.
The residents complain the administration of the district is in the hands of some lawmakers. They say despite challenges they voted last year, but now they regret why they go for vote process.
They alleged that difference of opinion between provincial council members and parliamentarians caused them only work for their interest and pay no attention to resolve problems of the people.
Mohammad Reza Arif, a resident of Lal-o-Sarjangal, said they voted for their representative amid great hopes but now their representatives had turned into a headache for the residents.
“The lawmakers have different political and tribal affiliations and have differences since the Jihad times. Each one of them only try to compete and beat the other,” he told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Arif claimed now also their only effort is to appoint their own relatives on government posts and those people who have no affiliations would not get appointed anywhere.
Interference by provincial council members and lawmakers in local government’s affairs created problems for those individual who had no connections, he noted.
The issues, he added, had also created problems for school students. The district had 72 schools with more than 32,000 students, including 15,000 girls. Another problem of concern is that 27 of the schools do not have buildings.
“Interference by people’s representatives, lack of buildings, books and stationary are among problems that the educations sector in the province faces,” Arif added.
He claimed staff of the education, health and police departments were relatives of lawmakers and provincial council members and they only work to serve interest of their people’s representatives.
Fazel Haq Nejat, deputy director education department in Ghor, said representatives were meddling in schools’ affairs in the districts that had created a huge challenge for education sector.
He added those who had come through merit and exams could not continue with their works. “All education officials in the district are acting officials today. All those acting officials are relatives of the lawmakers or PC members.”
Nejat said two months back the education department in the district was closed due to these meddling, but after the new district chief started work the department was reopened.
Mohammad Musa Kalim, Lal-o-Sarjangal district chief, also complained about interference by representatives in his affairs, saying the rivalry among them had caused many construction projects to be left incomplete.
At least construction of 13 schools, he claimed, had not been completed thanks to the rivalries among representatives. “These representatives have taken people hostage.”
As many as 13 foreign NGOs had been implementing public welfare projects but the development projects did not change the lives of the people in the district.
Still majority of the local residents were poor and deprived of transportation, communication and other facilities to be connected with the district headquarters and other areas.
Fatima, a civil society activist, said there was more need for the developmental projects to be executed in Lal-o-Sarjangal, adding that the district was peaceful and people had close contact with one another.
She lamented majority of schools were still without buildings, the roads were in dilapidated conditions and the resident had been facing immense health and other sort of problems.
She said, poverty, heavy snowfall, flash floods and other natural disasters posed huge losses and authorities did not take notice of these grave challenges.
University teacher Musa Lali said due to wrong policies majority of the educated youth remained jobless and inefficient people were working on senior positions instead.
He praised the execution of some projects that brought development to the district, but said the impact of ineligible individuals was still a problem.
He alleged some lawmakers for not allowing qualified individuals to perform their duties. He said a police chief and a district chief who brought the letters of appointment from the Ministry of Interior could not perform their duties.
According to Musa, the incumbent police chief is acting and the qualified district chief had been transferred to another district.
Some members of Wolesi Jirga rejected the allegations leveled against them. Syed Nader Shah Bahr confirmed middling by some individuals in the provincial affairs. He said some people had told him they have influence in provincial affairs.
He did not name a particular person but revealed that three lawmakers in the parliament and four provincial council members had been involved in the mess. According to Bahr every individual tried to appoint his men.
Another provincial council member and resident of the district Abdul Hameed Natiqi rejected interference by council members. He said interference in the education sector was mostly done by district representatives in the parliament.
He said the provincial council only heard people’s problems and then shared with the government for solution.
From 840 schools in Ghor province, only 200 of them have buildings while the students of the rest of schools study under the open sky. Around 200,000 students, including 84,000 girls, are enrolled in schools of the province.
According to the education department, there are 4,600 teachers with 70 percent of them having low education but teaching in the schools of the province.
Earlier, civil society activists and residents of the province complained that interference by powerful individual and illegal commanders in employments, lack of teachers and lack of school books were among some serious problems.
Provincial education department confirmed problems and said that only 20 percent of schools were inactive in the province due to insecurity and presence of illegal commanders.
Local officials had said that around 4,500 illegal armed people were active in the province that caused tensions for residents.
From nine districts of Ghor, the education process in Shahrak, Pasaband, Dolina, Chaharsada and Tiora districts are facing problems.
Sibghatullah Akbari, director education department, also confirmed the problems being faced by the education sector but said 80 percent of schools were functioning.
He said that lack of books was one of the major problems the education department was still facing.
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