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Graves impede Herat road projects

Graves impede Herat road projects

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Nov 09, 2013 - 14:22

HERAT CITY (PANinfo-icon): Many road projects have been left incomplete or delayed because of old graves at the sites in western Herat province, municipality officials said on Saturday.

This year, they say, construction work was initiated on 52 urban roads, but work at 13 sites has been blocked due to the existence of graves.

Municipality official Naqibullah Orwen said religious scholars were being consulted on the relocation of such graves, saying most graves had no historic information. Citing legal experts, he said more than 30 years old graves could be removed to make way for roads.

But Herat Ulemainfo-icon Council chief Maulviinfo-icon Khudadad Saleh told Pajhwok Afghan News the issue had been discussed at a weekly meeting of the council and it was agreed upon that the municipality should refrain from removing graves and instead find another possible way.

He said the municipality had proposed the removal of shrines having no clear history, but religious scholars were of the view some graves were centuries-old, while roads in Herat had a history of not more than 50 years.

“Our ancestors knew about the shrines and kept their archeology intact and did not let them to be destroyed and we will also not allow anyone to destroy these graves,” the cleric said.

An archeologist, who did not want to be named, said religious scholars should not create hurdles in the implementation of urban development schemes.

He said technology had grown and graves could be safely relocated from the middle of roads to a better place with all their archeological aspects unaffected.

Herat information and culture department officials say some graves belong to prominent historic personalities, including a past prince named Kamran. A road project has been stopped in the area, where Karam’s gave exists.

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