Danish denies aiming to deprive Khost of power
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Office of the Second Vice President on Monday rejected allegations leveled by some officials in southeastern Khost province against the VP about a proposed trans-regional electricity project.
The Mohammad Sarwar Danish’s office said passing the route of the Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TUTAP)] power project through central Bamyan province never meant to deprive the southeastern provinces, including Khost, of electricity.
Earlier, Khost officials had accused Danish of creating hurdles in the way of electricity supply to southeastern provinces, but the VP spurned the claim as baseless.
A top provincial government official, who wished to go unnamed, confided to Pajhwok Afghan News the VP was seeking to scrap a power supply project for the southeast and shift it to Bamyan and other central provinces instead.
The source revealed Danish had invited Energy Ministry, Breshna Shirkat, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank representatives to his office and asked them to implement the project in central Afghanistan.
The officials reportedly voiced concern at the suggestion from the 2nd VP about a halt to the electricity project for southeastern provinces. They are said to have sought help for an amicable resolution of the issue.
However, the source said: “The Presidential Palace has assured us of the implementation of the key power project in the southeast. Despite the presidential assurance, worries exist about the possible shifting of the scheme.”
Despite the VP’s alleged aversion, the installation of power pylons continues to be in progress. This has kept alive hopes for the project’s implementation in the southeast, according one provincial official.
Abdul Wali Wahidzai, the provincial council head, acknowledged Danish’s disagreement with the electricity project and called it a source of concern. He warned Danish would face the wrath of all Pakhtuns if he did not stop meddling.
The public representative added: “This stepmother treatment is absolutely unacceptable to us. We want the central government to stop this discrimination; otherwise the move will fuel anger among Pakhuns.”
He blasted the central authority for subjecting the Pakhtuns, particularly Loya Paktia residents, to injustice over the years. “The Centre has never listened to the demands of Khost people. The promises held out to them are yet to be kept.”
Civil society activist Jamal Tanai assailed Danish for halting the electricity supply project on the basis of ethnic and linguistic considerations. He warned of a serious crisis if the situation was not addressed to the satisfaction of Khost inhabitants.
Meanwhile, Danish’s spokesman Mohammad Hidayat told Pajhwok Afghan News that the 2nd VP had no objection to electricity supply to Logar, Paktia, Paktika and Khost provinces.
“Another project for imported power supply to Kabul through the Salang Pass is under implementation. The VP has only suggested the project should be routed through Bamyan so that the people of that province could be supplied electricity.”
Funded by the US military engineering corps, the 201-km power transmission line will pass through Logar, Paktia Khost and Paktika with sub-stations in each province. Thirty percent of work on the project has been done so far.
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