Residents urge govt to build big dam on Kunar River
ASADABAD (Pajhwok): The residents of eastern Kunar province say they are happy over the inauguration of a newly-reconstructed Salma Dam in western Herat province and want the government to establish a hydropower plant on the Kunar River.
The Salma Dam, also called Afghan-India friendship dam, was inaugurated jointly by President Ashraf Ghani and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi last week.
A resident of Marawara district of Kunar, Mohammad Shoib Gharwal, said Kunar was a water-rich province, but its land lacked irrigation water and residents lived in dark.
He said the residents of Kunar suffered huge financial and human losses each year due to devastating floods. He made a strong appeal to the government to construct dams on Kunar River.
Qazafi, another Kunar resident, said the government had long been promising construction of dams, but was practically doing nothing. He said instead of paying for imported electricity, dams should be constructed on the Kunar River, which could produce enough electricity and Afghanistan would become importer of power.
Religious scholar Maulvi Burhanuddin said they were promised twice construction of dams during former president Hamid Karzai government, but the promises were never honoured. He said President Ashraf Ghani should also construct dams on Kunar River the way he built on rivers in other provinces.
A resident of Asmar district, Yar Mullah Khan, said the establishment of hydropower dam on the river would not only benefit Kunar but several other provinces.
Kunar electricity department head Abdullah said they had conducted surveys for two dams on Kunar river and all the documents had been completed.
He said the sites surveyed in Sagai and Asmar’s district Shal areas had the capacity to produce 300 megawatts and 796 megawatts of electricity respectively.
He said the surveys on the two dams had been completed and the documents for designs sent to the Ministry of Water and Energy, but the ministry was yet to pay attention.
He also said another survey for the route of a power line carrying imported electricity to Kunar province had also been completed but the ministry was yet to launch work on the project.
Kunar Governor Wahidullah Kalimzai said the people of Kunar lacked electricity despite having a huge river. He said work on a dam having the capacity to produce 2.1 megawatts of electricity was underway on the Pech river. He said the dam would resolve electricity problem of Watapur and Manogi districts.
While inaugurating the Salma Dam, President Ghani had said work on the Kamal Khan and Kajaki hydropower dams would be launched in the near future and that would follow construction work on a mega dam on the Kunar River.
A survey during Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan government had found that 1,000 megawatts of electricity could be generated at the Sara Taq area in Asmar district on the Kunar river, a major tributary of Kabul River contributing almost 13 million acres feet (MAF) annually to Pakistan.
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