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Work on Kandahar solar power projects at snail’s pace

Work on Kandahar solar power projects at snail’s pace

Dec 25, 2018 - 09:24

KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Residents and local officials of southern Kandahar province are complaining about what they call evidently slow progress on two solar power projects in the province.

In this regard, a meeting at the governor’s house was attended by deputy governor, chief of the provincial council, power utility director and representatives of the contracted firms.

Kandahar deputy governor Abdul Hanan Munib said work on the two 40MW projects had been underway at a snail’s pace and both residents and local authorities were unhappy with it.

He asked officials of the relevant companies to accelerate their work within one week and complete the projects as per the contract, otherwise the provincial government would officially complain to the central government.

He said not only they would complain to the central government but would introduce officials of the relevant companies to the Attorney General Office (AGO).

Provincial Council chief Haji Syed Jan Khakrezwal told Pajhwok that installation of the first solar power project (10 megawatt) was being done by Zolaristan firm and the second project (30 megawatt) was equally divided (15mw each) between Zolaristan and a Turkish company.

He said the Turkish company was working well and would complete its part of the project soon but the Zolaristan firm had been slow.

Kandahar Breshna Shirkat director Amanullah Faroqi said it was a few months back when relevant projects officials promised to accelerate installation of the solar power plants.

He said the power utility had completed installation of power pylons and extension of cables and other affairs, but the relevant companies were yet to meet their promises.

The power utility head added therefore the contracted companies officials were asked to attend the meeting at the governor’s house and were informed to step up their work.

Farooqi said thousands of acres of land had been specified for the 30mw solar power plant in limits of the airport in Daman district and thousands of acres more land for the 10mw project in front of the textile factory in the same district.

According to him, the 30mw project worth $39 million is funded by the Afghan government and the remaining amount is paid by Zolarestan and 77-Turkish Company.

Under the contract these companies would sell electricity to Da Afghanistaninfo-icon Breshna Shirka (DABS) cheaply for 20 years and after completion of the term, the projects will be handed over to the power utility.

The 10mw solar power plant installation will cost $19 million. USAIDinfo-icon is contributing $10 million and the remaining $9 million by Zolaristan company to this project.

Work on the projects resumed in September 24, 2017 after a long delay and the company promised to complete the installation in August, 2018.

The power utility director grumbled the projects work remained slow-paced despite continued stress to finish them early.

The completion of these projects will resolve the power shortage issue at the industrial park.

Currently, the industrial park in Kandahar is supplied electricity for 10 hours a day, including eight megawatts delivered by diesel run generators, which is not enough.

Referring to power supply from Kajaki dam in Helmand province, Farooqi said due to lack of water in the dam, power generation turbines had stopped and residents were only supplied a few hours electricity in 48 hours from diesel run generators.

He said the entire country was suffering from drought, especially the southern zone, and it had resulted in 70 meters decrease in water at the Kajaki dam.

Deputy head of industrialist union Faizl Haq Mushkani said the lack of electricity remained a major challenge for all residents of Kandahar, especial industrials.

He said due to the shortage of power only half of the 154 factories were operating and the rest closed.

On the other hand, residents of Kandahar said the lack of electricity has a negative impact on their lives as they have long been facing the issue.


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