Slow-paced work on Kamal Khan Dam annoys minister
ZARANJ (Pajhwok): Water and Energy Minister Ali Ahmad Osmani has expressed his dissatisfaction over the slow-paced work on the Kamal Khan Dam in southwestern Nimroz province.
Osmani, who visited the dam on Friday, called for the mega project’s second phase to be completed soon.
“The ministry is working on the project’s third phase and we want the second phase to be completed soon. We understand water problems the people of Nimorz face,” he said, addressing local residents.
The second phase was to be completed five months earlier, but it had been delayed due to lack of funds.
According to the ministry, the second phase has been 85 percent completed and the rest will be completed in two or three months.
In April, Pajhwok Afghan News reported residents’ frustration over the slow going work and corruption in the project.
The dam is being constructed on the Helmand River in Chahar Burjak district of Nimroz province. The construction work on the vital project had begun in 1973 but held in abeyance due to then political situation of the country.
The Kamal Khan Dam construction costs $100 million funded by the World Bank (WB). The initial work included the construction of a 3,400-metre wall --- 32 metres wide and 6 to 11 meters high.
In the second phase, a similar wall on the other side of the river would be constructed and the river's bed cemented.
In the third phase, power producing generators would be installed, the last stage to complete the project.
Nearly 40,000 acres of land would come under irrigation and 8.5 megawatts of electricity would be generated from the project.
Farida Hamidi, lawmaker from Nimroz, said people’s major problem was high electricity tariff.
Currently 24 megawatts of electricity is imported from Iran for 20,000 residents of Zaranj, the provincial capital. With completion of the dam, more and inexpensive electricity will be provided to the residents.
Maulvi Salahuddin, a Zaranj resident addressing the minister, said: “There is massive corruption going on in the Nimroz energy department and people are fed up with that.”
He added powerful individuals did not pay their power bills and it were ordinary citizens who bore the brunt.
Iran’s ambassador to Kabul Mohammad Reza Bahrami, who accompanied the water and energy minister to Nimroz, announced opening Iran’s consulate in the province. “We announce preparations for opening of our consulate in Zaranj city. The consulate would be opened in two to three months if the agreement is reached.”
Finance Minister Eklil Hakimi, who also travelled to Nimroz, said: “there are many challenges in the customs department. Based on our promises with lawmakers and people, these challenges should be resolved.”
Reports indicate expensive goods are being taxed less by the customs officials in return for bribes.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.