‘Protest to continue until power restored to Jalalabad’
JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Residents and civil society activists sitting at a protest tent in the capital of eastern Nangarhar province on Saturday warned they would not remove the tent until their demand was met.
They first held a protest demonstration in Jalalabad and then erected tents at the Pakhtunistan square to demand repairing of power cables from Naghlu hydropower plant to the city.
Nearly two weeks ago, insurgents cut off the power cables in Badpakh district of neighbouring Laghman province, plunging Nangarhar into darkness.
One of the protestors, a civil society activist, Noor Agha Zwak, told Pajhwok Afghan News the provincial administration, the central government and Da Afghanistan Bareshna Shirkat had all failed in resolving electricity problem of Jalalabad.
After exercising all other options, he said, they finally decided to erect protest tents for seeking their right.
Another activist and member of the Youth Parliament, Muqaddis Ahmadzai, who was among the protestors, said the problem of electricity in Jalalabad had worsened and had resulted in deaths at hospitals.
She accused parliamentarians from Nangarhar and the provincial council members of taking no steps to resolve problems of Nangarhar people.
Similarly, tribal elder Ihsanullah Kamawal told Pajhwok Afghan News that the central government subjected Nangarhar to a step-motherly treatment when it came to resolving problems.
“We want the central government to provide us security as well as uninterrupted electricity,” he demanded.
Nangarhar provincial council secretary Zabihullah Zamarai, who visited the protest camp to express solidarity with the protestors, said the government had lost control over power supply from Naghlu dam to insurgents.
He said the insurgents had several times cut off the cables in the past and they still controlled the lines.
“The central government has failed in resolving problems of Nangarhar people as it will not resolve a common electricity issue of us,” the public representative said.
In a resolution letter, read out by civil society activist Shukrullah Mashkoor, the protestors demanded an urgent and permanent solution to the blackout.
The letter asked the government to investigate why the electricity lines were passed through insecure areas.
But local officials in Nangarhar and Laghman said the problem would be resolved today when the cables would be reconnected.
Nangarhar’s deputy governor Mohammad Hanif told reporters in the vicinity of the protest camp that the breaking of cables was nothing new and had become a routine now.
He said the governor, the electricity department head and other high ranking provincial officials had launched their efforts at the central level to find a permanent solution to the problem.
The spokesmen of the Nangarhar and Laghman governors, Attaullah Khogyani and Sarhadi Zwak, confirmed to Pajhwok that work on rejoining the broken cables had been launched and the power would be restored by the end of the day.
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