TUTAP project route triggers angry protest in Daikundi
BAMYAN CITY (Pajhwok): Hundreds of residents of Daikundi province on Saturday staged a protest for changing the proposed route for the Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TUTAP) electricity project.
The TUTAP project, transferring 500 kilowatts of electricity through the Salang Pass of Afghanistan to Pakistan, is to be implement in the near future. The route issue has sparked worries among inhabitants of central provinces.
Da Afghanistan Breshna Shirkat (DABS) spokesman Wahidullah Tawhidi says the decision to implement the project through the Salang Pass had been taken but practical work has not been launched so far.
Hundreds of people, including provincial council members, religious and civil society activists protested in Neili city, the capital of Daikundi, and asked the government to change the project’s route so as to benefit Daikundi and Bamyan.
A provincial council member, Hadi Rahimi, told Pajhwok Afghan News the protest was against imbalances in implementation of projects and some officials’ attempted to keep the central provinces deprived of development.
He alleged the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project had intentionally been planned to pass through Kandahar and Farah provinces. If routed through Bamyan and Ghor provinces, the project’s cost and distance would be significantly reduced.
The TUTAP route had been changed deliberately, Rahimi maintained, recalling a survey by a German firm had recently recommended the project should pass through the central provinces.
A civil society activist, Rahmatullah Shariati, suggested a balance in budgetary allocations and development schemes for provinces. Balanced development of the country was the right of every Afghan, he observed, asking why some people were trying to keep some areas backward.
“We would arrange larger protests in coordination with dwellers of other provinces if our demand is ignored,” he warned, urging the central government to undo the imbalance in terms of development projects.
The protesters read out a five-article resolution, reminding the president and his chief executive officer of their campaign promises to ensure social justice and even-handed development of the country.
They also sought cooperation from human rights organisations and parliamentarians in ending their deprivation.
Recently, representatives of Bamyan, Ghazni, Samangan, Ghor, Daikundi and Maidan Wardak provinces called for diverting the TUTAP power line into the central provinces.
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