Protestors seek resumption of work on dam project
FAIZABAD (Pajhwok): Thousands of people in northeastern Badakhshan province took to the streets on Thursday, asking for the resumptionof construction work on the Shorabak power dam.
Work on the important dam project, expected to cost 30 million euros, was launched with the financial assistance of Germany. But four months back, the project execution came to a halt.
Local officials say 7.5 megawatts of electricity will be produced with the construction of the dam, which will also supply power to 10,000 of families in Faizabad, the capital of Badakhshan.
Enraged by the suspension of work, thousands of protestors marched through the city, chanting slogans that “we don’t want alternative power, want work on the Shorabak project resumed.”
Ahmad Bashir Samim, head of the provincial council, said the minister of energy had told work was launched six months ago, but after the completion of 10 percent of the project, the Turkish firm asked for an additional 19 million euros.
But Germany was not ready to pay the additional money, he added. The ministry told public representatives the contract had been scrapped and solar or thermal power would be supplied to Badakhshan.
“There are huge water resources in the Kokcha River, but the government wants to bring coal here from Bamyan or another province to produce electricity. This decision is not acceptable to the people of Badakhshan,” he said.
It was a shame for the government producing thermal or solar power in the province instead of harnessing its water resources, Ulema Council Chairman Saadullah Abu Aman said.
A civil society activist, Anisa Akhgar, said dozens of women also took part in the rally. They warned if the government doesn’t resume work on the project till March, 27 they would launch a civil movement.“We will close government offices and block the Faizabad-Takhar highway.”
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