JALALABAD (Pajhwok): A 100-megawatt solar power project was inaugurated in eastern Nangarhar province one and a half years ago to provide electricity to factories, but work on the plant has been postponed.
Nangarhar where around 400 factories operate, has been facing shortage of electricity and industrialists have been complaining about their dwindling productions.
They say the officials concerned had assured them of establishing a solar power station, which was inaugurated 18 months ago, but is yet to produce electricity.
Work on building a park as part of the project was launched on June 30, 2018 when local officials promised to find investors got implementing the solar power scheme.
Haji Toor Malang, head of Chamber of Mines and Industry of Nangarhar, told Pajhwok Afghan News there were many factories in the province including 14 steel mills which required permanent electricity to run.
Most of these factories face electricity shortage and as a result, sometimes caused investors incur millions of afghanis loss, he said.
He said they had been several times promised access to solar electricity but the promise could not be honored. “Many investors plan to invest in many spheres if electricity is provided to them”, he added.
Shakirullah Sapi, head of Chamber of Commerce and Investment in Nangarhar, also said that shortage of electricity was one of major problems the industry faced in Nangarhar.
The central government and local administration should fulfill their promises of providing solar electricity, he said.
Meanwhile, Noor Agha Malakzai, a Wolesi Jirga or lower house member, said factories consumed most of the electricity and created problems for people.
However, he said the problem could be solved if the solar power project was implemented.
On the other hand, Ikramullah Abid, head of the Nangarhar power utility, said that demand for electricity in the province was high compared to its availability.
“Jalalabad city alone requires 250 to 300MW of electricity and we avail a total of 80MW,” he said.
He said the solar power project was designed for solving shortage of electricity and could help around 400 factories in the province to function.
The project in the first phase would provide 40MW and in later phase, 60MW which totals 100MW, he said.
Abid added there was a need for a park before practically implementing the project and building a surrounding wall was the responsibility of the power utility, on which 90 percent work has been completed.
He said Qatar conducted a survey in the province and showed interest to invest in Nangarhar and build a power system here.