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‘Khost airport project work not up to standard’

‘Khost airport project work not up to standard’

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Jan 28, 2017 - 16:57

KHOST CITY (Pajhwok): Civil societyinfo-icon activists, provincial council members and government officials in southern Khost province say construction work on the international airport in Khost City, the provincial capital, has not been up to standard.

Airport project’s expenditure

Construction work on the Khost City Airport was launched in April 2016 after being delayed for two years and currently 97 percent work on the project has been completed.

In the first phase, a 2.7-kilometre long and 300 meters wide runway and other facilities were constructed at a cost of $8.5 million provided by the Transport and Aviation Ministry.

Provincial council-members’ viewpoint

Mujib Rahman Salemzoai, head of the provincial council, said engineers had pointed out 12 flaws in the construction work.

“We sent a formal letter to Kabulinfo-icon about the low quality work and asked them to send a professional and technical team to assess the work but the ministry did not respond.”

He added Governor Hukam Khan Habibi had been informed about the low quality of work at the airport and he assured assessing the work closely.

Mohammad Qadem Afghan, another provincial council member, claimed corruption was behind the low quality work.

He said Public Works Director Eng. Mamorshah has been appointed as the airport project coordinator against 90,000 afghanis salary.

“Mamorshah’s duty is to report to the ministry about the quality of work before releasing money to the company working on the airport, but when he reported the low quality work and flaws in the construction, he was forced to resign under pressure from unknown circles,” he claimed.

He said Economic Affairs Director Eng. Hameed Shah had replaced Mamorshah removal but he did not monitor the projects.

Project monitoring

Mamorshah confirmed he had been in-charge of the project but had to resign due to personal engagements and his resignation had been accepted.

The incumbent project in-charge Eng. Hameed Shah also acknowledged the construction work’s quality had been low but in the same breath called the issue as exaggerated

The Airport construction company

However, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Faiz Construction Company, Eng. Jamil Hamidi, denied the allegations as baseless, saying the airport’s project had no problem in terms of quality.

“After some elements said the quality of the project was not good, we tested the materials used in laboratories which had no problem. No one should worry about it, as the project has one year guarantee and we are responsible for any kind of technical issue.”

Hamidi said some elements deliberately intervened in the project and wanted to politicize it. Such elements were trying to create hurdles in the airport project without having any proof of bad quality work.

Eng. Jamil denied corruption in the airport project. He said the project’s first phase which included construction of the runway, watercourses, parking and some other parts had been completed and would be soon prepared for flights.

Pajhwok tried to have comments from the Khost governor’s house, but contact wasn’t established.

The need for airport in Khost

A civil society activist, Sayed Marjan, said if the airport’s construction works were of good quality, it would benefit Khost people.

He asked the central government to pay attention to the project’s imperfections and ensure that passengers’ desire of having a standard airport in their province was met.

“Every day, hundreds of passengers come to Kabul and then to Khost in cars and they get very tired due to the long journey. The airport will not only resolve passengers’ problems but also help improve trade.”

More than 100,000 Afghans from Khost work in the UAE and the expatriates have expressed the wish of having an airport in their province as they could directly travel to Khost from UAE without landing in Kabul.

nh/sns/ma

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