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Experts criticize 11-year delay in Kabul ring road construction

Experts criticize 11-year delay in Kabul ring road construction

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Jul 29, 2019 - 16:51

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The government says acquisition of properties was the reason that delayed the Kabul ring road construction for 11 years, but analysts believe land acquisition is just an excuse for the delay.

According to the Ministry of Public Works, the Kabul ring road begins from Kabul-Kandahar highway in Qala-i-Abdul Ali area of Kabul city and passes through Khairabad area of Chaharasiab district, Kabul-Logar highway in Sang Nawishta area, Shiwaki area of Bagrami district, Ahmad Shah Baba area of Kabul city, Pul-i-Charkhi Jail, Kabul-Jalalabad highway in Dahna-i-Tangi area, New Kabul Project in Deh Sabz district and behind Khair Khana hills and then joins back Qala-i-Abdul Ali area.

The ring road is 117 kilometers long and 100 meters wide. The ministry says the project would cost $339 million.

Eleven-year delay

Mehdi Rohani, spokesman of the Ministry of Public Works (MoPW), told Pajhwok Afghan News that the Kabul ring road was surveyed by an Italian company, C.LOTTI, 11 years ago but the company shared the result of its survey with the ministry two years later.

He said the first phase of the road was 20.7 kilometers long starting from Kabul-Kandahar highway and passing via Mahdia Township and Qorish Mountain hillsides and joins Kabul-Logar highway.

He said $110 million was considered for the road’s first phase construction and $74 million of the fund was provided by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the rest by the Afghan government.

The acquisition process has been completed for 12 kilometers of the first phase and there were only three land acquisition cases in the rest of the phase, he said, adding the first phase of the project would be announced for bidding two months later.

The second phase of the road is 18 kilometers long which begins from Kabul-Logar highway and connects with Kabul-Jalalabad highway after passing through many areas. The rest of the road which is 78.3 kilometers long is under assessment, he said.

About the reason behind the 11-year delay in practical work on the road, he said, that the main reason behind the delay was that people were not ready to sell their properties coming in the road’s way.

Mohammad Yasin Hilal, in charge of properties acquisition in Kabul municipality, said the main reason behind the delayed ring road construction was properties with illegal documents, a problem that faced the Ministry of Urban Development and Land with trouble and land identification.

However, Hashmatullah Naseri, spokesman to the Ministry of Urban Development and Land, said that identification of properties was responsibility of the ministry since last two years. He said Kabul municipality was previously responsible for the job.

He said his ministry had identified land properties in the first phase of Kabul ring road, except three properties whose owners stayed outside the country.

Fair acquisition of properties

Mohammad Yasin Hilal said, “Acquisition is a just exchange, Kabul municipality is responsible to exchange land with land and pay money for the goods that could not be shifted.”

Officials say people whose land was acquisitioned were given land in exchange in Padula area of Kabul and those who lost their houses to the road construction project should refer to Kabul municipality.

Acquisition is just an excuse

Ghulam Mohammad Ailaqi, an economic expert, accused the government of negligence in implementing the project and said the government had no strong will for executing the project.

He said those who lost houses to the project should be provided with land in townships or proper areas. Padula area is currently not suitable for living, he said.

Taj Mohammad Akbar, economy lecturer in Kabul University, said, “We have not an accountable government, it is a matter of shame that we did not start work on even the first phase of the ring road.”

He said the government used land acquisition as an excuse and all organs concerned for construction of the road had no will for work on the project.

“If the government really wants, it could complete the land acquisition process in just a year,” he said.

Mds/ma

 

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