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Delay in launch of solar power project sparks resentment

Delay in launch of solar power project sparks resentment

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Jul 22, 2017 - 16:00

KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Land has been acquired and cable stretched as part of a 10-megawatt solar power project in southern Kandahar province, but the donor stopped work on the plant’s installation in winter.

Residents of Kandahar complain of the inordinate delay in completing the solar power project. They want the authorities concerned to avoid negligence in this regard.

The plant worth $15 million was supposed to be built with the help of USAID and completed by 2016 summer, but little progress has been done so far.

Eng. Syed Rassoul Baqi, the Breshna Shirkat director for Kandahar, told Pajhwok Afghan News the USAIDinfo-icon had pledged launching work on the power project in February 2016. But the promise is yet to be kept.

He said the USAID had demanded land, on which the project would be executed, should be owned by the Breshna Shirkat. The USAID has also asked for wires to be extended to the defined location.

Both demands had been met and only the launch of work on the project remained, Baqi said, adding 80 acres of land has been acquired for the project and 135 pylons had already been installed.

He recalled President Ashraf Ghani, during his last visit to the province, had pledged work on the solar power project would be completed till summer, but no progress had been made yet.

Baqi also provided information about the installation of the third turbine at the Kajaki dam, saying 40 percent of the work had been done. But a few months back, work on the third turbine was postponed due to insecurity, he explained.

With the installation of the third turbine, the dam would produce 18.5 MW of additional power. Currently, the dam produces 33MW of electricity.

A third option is electricity supply from Kabul  to Kandahar via Ghazni. Kandahar currently consumes 15 MW of electricity --- three MW produced by diesel-powered generators and 12 MW from Kajaki dam.

Industrialists in Kandahar City said they needed 10MW of electricity but were provided only 3MW. Most of factories had stopped production due to non-availability of electricity, they complained.

Abdul Rahman, a resident of the 5th municipal district, said the president had pledged the completion of the 10 MW solar power project by summer. However, He e lamented no progress could be seen on the scheme.

nh/mud

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