Protestors seek permanent end to Jalalabad blackout
JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Civil society activists on Wednesday asked the government to find a permanent solution to the electricity problem in eastern Nangarhar province.
Cables carrying electricity from Kabul to Nangarhar have been cut loose in Ozbin area of Sarobi district over the past few days, plunging most of Jalalabad city into darkness.
The power utility, Da Afghanistan Bareshna Shirkat (DABS), says local residents had cut off two supply lines in protest against the lack of electricity in their area.
A number of civil society activists, the youth and the provincial council members staged a protest rally in Jalalabad, asking the government to resolve the issue on a permanent basis.
Civil society activist, Jamshid, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the electricity had been cut off for the last four days. He said the holy month of Ramadan would begin tomorrow and residents were without electricity despite the hot weather in Jalalabad.
The activist said the government should take stern action against those responsible for breaking the power cables. “Actually they know how weak the government is, that’s why they cut the cables.”
Positive Change Society group member Sadullah Fitrat said the government should electrify Ozbin area so that the problem could be permanently resolved.
He criticised Wolesi Jirga members from Nangarhar for making no effort to resolve the electricity problem in the province.
On the other hand, provincial council member Zabihullah Zamarai told Pajhwok Afghan News electricity related problems and breakdowns often increased in summer in the province.
“This is injustice to the people of Nangarhar that power cables are broken in Sarobi and Badpakh district of Laghman. These lines should have traversed short routes from Kabul.”
He asked why electricity was suspended to the province every summer and said it showed government’s weakness that some people used electricity as a tool to press for their demands.
Nangarhar Electricity Director Mohib Rahman Momand said electricity officials had been engaged in talks with residents of Ozbin area to allow them to join the cables.
“There are several villages in the area, but our work is blocked in Spin Kondi, Cheena and Manz Lara areas. The cables have been cut off in these areas as residents demand electricity.”
The director said they had promised with the residents that electricity would be extended to their homes, but they were yet to allow the repair work. He said the cables would be repaired within four hours if allowed by the residents.
Momand said providing electricity to the Ozbin area was the authority of the central government and they had sent a letter to Kabul in this regard.
He said the government should consider a permanent solution to the problem, but he did not offer any idea.
“I don’t have any artillery, tank or jet. We resolve such issues through talks to reach an agreement. Technical works are easy.”
The lack of electricity in Jalalabad has affected business activities in the border and industrial city and has created many problems for its one million populations.
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