Azizi officially requests probe in Dahla dam corruption
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): The governor of southern Kandahar province on Thursday said he had officially asked the Ministry of Water and Energy to investigative corruption in Dahla dam’s reconstruction project.
Dr. Humayun Azizi told reporters here the dam’s first reconstruction phase was finished two days ago at cost of $71 million, but the works done could not be compared with the expenses.
He said new gate for a power station, a power house, a new tunnel, four water gates and a building for the main power machinery had been constructed or renovated.
The contract for the dam’s reconstruction had been awarded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to a Turkish Construction Company “77” while US Corps of Engineers had been monitoring the process, the governor said.
As details of the contract had not been shared with the Ministry of Water and Energy, he could not say how much money was embezzled in the $71 million works.
Azizi said he had asked the ministry concerned through an official letter to send a technical delegation to investigate the embezzlement.
He also criticised the Water and Energy Ministry for not sending a single delegation to monitor the dam’s reconstruction activities since they were launched two years ago.
“I have closely monitored the reconstruction works, it looks they had cost 10-20 million dollars,” claimed the provincial council chief, Haji Syed Jan Khakrezwal.
He said a high level corruption had been committed in the project, which was not acceptable to the people of Kandahar.
Arghandab River Authority head Eng. Sher Mohammad Attai on Wednesday said the governor had shared his concerns regarding corruption in the project with him, but he could not provide anything to prove corruption.
He said the reconstruction works took two years and most of the machineries had been imported from foreign countries, which could also increase the costs.
Dahla dam project has two phases. In the first phase, rehabilitation works included repair of the main canal and minor canals, replacement of water valves and erecting gates to improve control over the flow of water supply to farm fields from the reservoir. These projects have been completed.
Desilting of the dam and raising height of its wall by eight metres are included in the second phase.
As planned, six more supporting dams should be constructed near the main dam. The total expenses of the project have been estimated at $308 million to be jointly provided by the Afghan Ministry of Finance ($37 million) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) (the rest).
But USAID suspended the project after the Finance Ministry failed to provide the promised $37 million, which was supposed to be used for initial works.
Currently, 40 percent of the dam is filled with silt which has reduced the water storing capacity of the dam to 300 million cubic meters from 484 million cubic meters in the past.
Raising the dam’s height would help strengthen the irrigation networks to fields in seven districts of Kandahar and pave the ground for poducing nearly 10 megawatts of electricity.
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