Nimroz PC in need of strategy to combat graft
ZARANJ (Pajhwok): The provincial council of southwestern Nimroz province says it has made many achievements in implementing infrastructural projects, but residents complain the council lacks vision to combat administrative graft.
Nimroz provincial council has nine members including two women. On January 28, the lower house of parliament barred provincial councils from overseeing the performance of local departments. The move prompted the councils to go on strike for more than 45 days, regaining the oversight right.
Mohammad Sediq Chakhansori, the provincial council chairman, told Pajhwok Afghan News he hadthrice met Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah on start of construction work on the Nimroz airport.
Chakhansori said the work on the vital project had resumed and with its completion people’s transportation problems would be resolved.The Zaranj airport project has been stymied by lack of funds. About 70 per cent work on the airport has been completed and the facility may be inaugurated in four months.
An amount of 300 million afghanis has been spent on the airport so far, while another 350 millionis required to complete it. Residents complain that travelling by road is time-consuming and dangerous while air travel is costly. With the construction of the airport, they hope, the airfare will come down.
The provincial council head says the CEO has also promised completion of other ongoing projects such as Kamal Khan dam and the ring road. But residents lament the snail-paced work on the dam, blaming government for the delay.
The provincial council head assured they had good coordination with local departments and were working to improve people’s lives in the province. With the help of provincial council, he said, the second phase of transferring water from Qala-i-Fateh to Zaranj city has started and it would provide potable water to residents.
Nimroz is a sandy province, having salty water. The Helmand River that passes through Zaranj cannot meet people’s demands for water because of drying up during summer seasons. The extended water pipes from Iran also do not satisfy the demands.
Zaranj has around 300,000 population. Based on reports 90 per cent of the city’s population do not have access to potable water. They consume the well and salty water that is accessible.
Provincial council head said during his recent visit to Kabul, he also held meetings with several cabinet ministers, urging them to visit the province and see people’s problems first hand. Some of the ministers promised to visit Nimroz soon.
Fareshta, a civil society activist in Nimroz, commented achievements of the council were still invisible. “People had a lot of expectations of the elective body which hasn’t delivered much.”She alleged the council could not do anything tangibleregarding improvement of women’s rights.
Abdul Hadi, a resident of Zaranj, said the incumbent council had better programmes than the previous one and he was satisfied with its performance.He was of the opinion the council had resolved legal issues and implemented infrastructure projects. “But when it comes to rooting out administrative corruption, it doesn’t have many programmes.”
Mullah Ahmad, a religious scholar, compared the provincial council members to employees of the government, saying they were not acting as true representatives of the people.
“Whatever expectations officials have, the council members measure up to them. On many projects instead of supporting people, they have vindicated the officials,” he added.For instance, a 20-kilometre road worth 20 million afghanis was graveled in Chakhansor district. Despite people’s complaints, the council chose to keep quiet.
Instead of combating corruption, the council members have hired their relatives in many departments, he claimed.
But Mullah Gul Ahmad Ahmadi, a public representative, said the level of graft had declined in the province,compared with previous years. Without doubt, he remarked, graft is rampant across the country and Nimroz is no exception.
“We have summoned the customs department officials many times because we know there is graft in the department. We warned them of exposing corrupt officials if we found evidence against them,” he added.
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