Helmand power, transport departments’ income surges
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): The revenues of the electricity and transport departments of southern Helmand province have increased as compared to past years due to improvement in the departments’ affairs, officials say.
Breshna (electricity) department head Eng. Nasrulllah Qani and transport director Abdul Ghafor Tokhi on Saturday held a joint press conference giving reasons behind the increased revenues.
Qani said the electricity department’s revenue surged at a time when a large number of residents and government offices defaulted on power bills.
He also said despite problems like insecurity and sometimes snapping of electricity cables between the Kajaki hydropower plant and Lashkargah, the provincial capital, so far 266 million afghanis had been collected in revenue since the beginning of this solar year.
The official said the returns showed a 35 percent increase over last year’s figures. Qani said they had disconnected power supply to areas where families had failed to pay their electricity bills.
He named the Emergency-run hospital, the central prison and some other departments which had been refusing to pay arrears under the pretext that they lacked sufficient budget.
He said a total of 120 million afghanis was unpaid by common people and government departments. He said common people owed 45 million afghanis and government departments owed the rest.
Qani said they had sent official letters to defaulters, but there had been no response. He said the number of consumers was 19,000 who were supplied electricity from the Kajaki and Greshk dams and diesel-run generators in Lashkargah.
Taliban militants also collect tax on electricity consumption in areas under their control.
Qani said the two turbines at the Kajaki dam produced 33 megawatts of electricity and installation work on the third turbine having the capacity to produce 16 megawatts has been launched.
He said 35 percent work on the third turbine has been completed, a task to be completed in one year.
The transport department director, Abdul Ghafor Tokhi, said they had collected 6.4 million afghanis in income despite ongoing insecurity and closure of roads.
He said security officials had been prevented from taking illegal money from vehicles on roads.
About police taking money from vehicles, Helmand police chief Brig. Gen. Abdul Rahman Sarjang said problems earlier faced by drivers had been addressed and security posts accused of taking illegal money had been removed.
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