Only private sector can solve Kandahar power issue
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Water and Energy Minister Ali Ahmad Osmani on Tuesday said the electricity problem in southern Kandahar province could not be addressed without cooperation from the private sector.
Osmani, who arrived with a delegation in Kandahar City, the provincial capital, said his ministry lacked enough resources to resolve the electricity issue in Kandahar and urged the private sector to play its part in this regard.
He was speaking at the provincial council meetings hall where Governor Dr. Humayun Azizi, provincial council members, influential figures and representatives of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) were present.
Governor Azizi called the lack of electricity one of the major issues the people of the province faced. He believed if the problem was resolved, it would help turn Kandahar into an agricultural and industrial zone, create jobs for the youth and eventually bring peace.
He said the Kajaki hydropower plant was not a basic solution to the electricity problem in Kandahar because the supply was not reliable as it was cut off four to five days a week.
The governor said the problem could be resolved with import of electricity and he had talked to businessmen in this regard as part of his first 100-day plan, which he had presented to the president.
He said the president had endorsed his plan and luckily the electricity act had recently been
approved. The governor said he had encouraged USAID officials to assist the private sector in making investment in solar energy.
Azizi asked the ministry concerned to provide details to the masses about millions of dollars invested in Kandahar in the electricity sector.
“The people of Kandahar want the central government to be held accountable for the millions of dollars set aside for electricity in the province.”
The governor also said silt deposits had reduced the water holding capacity of the Dahla Dam by 40 percent, though the dam irrigated orchards and farm fields in the province.
He said if the water volume further reduced, it could lead to an agriculture crisis, urging the ministry concerned to preempt the disaster.
Azizi also called for the construction of a dam in the Arghistan district with the capacity to irrigate thousands of hectors of land.
Minister Osmani said his visit to Kandahar was aimed at paving the ground for private investment to resolve the electricity issue.
He said work on installing a third turbine in the Kajaki hydropower plant in neighbouring Helmand province was in full swing and the private sector should invest in production of solar energy in Kandahar.
The minister linked the remoteness of power producing central Asian nations from Kandahar to the lack of electricity in the province.
He said resources with his ministry were not sufficient to resolve the electricity problem in Kandahar and investment by the private sector in this regard was crucial.
Da Afghanistan Bareshna Shirkat official said the solar energy project would be launched soon to produce 10 megawatts of electricity in addition to 10 megawatts from the Kajaki dam.
However, he said the electricity problem would not fully resolve with these efforts as the electricity requirement in Kandahar stood at 150 megawatts.
Tribal elders and provincial council members, who spoke on the occasion, urged the government to construct dams so that irrigation and electricity problems could be resolved.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.