MAIMANA (Pajhwok): Findings by Pajhwok show 95 percent initial work on Dahan Dara Dam in northwestern Faryab province has been completed in four years, but practical work on the mega scheme yet to start.
On the other hand, the company implementing the project claimed it has spent $2 million on the project so far but the government did not to pay the money despite several requests.
According to a Pajhwok Afghan News report, work on Dahan Dara irrigation dam in Pashtonkot district of Faryab was started on November 22, 2017 and it was expected to complete in five years.
Officials of the Ministry of Water and Energy at the time had said that the dam was the country’s fifth biggest with 67 meters height and could store more than 20 million square meters of water
Estimated to cost $37 million from government budget, the dam is designed to irrigate about 4,000 hectares of farmland and generate one and half megawatt of electricity.
A Pajhwok report published in December 2019 also showed that only two percent work on the dam was been completed in three years while more than a hundred security forces guarding the facility had been killed and wounded.
New Pajhwok findings show that initial work on the dam yet to be completed and actual work was not started so far.
Chief executive officer of the company implementing the project warned that they would stop work on the project if the money they have spent not paid by the government.
Civil society activists, provincial council members complain slow-paced work on the project.
Sayed Zainuddin Abidi, Faryab Civil Society Network head, who recently visited Dahan Dara Dam, said, “I visited Dahan Dara and Chahartot areas where the dam is under construction, I talked with the local people and militants, there was no any obstacles for the construction, I checked the work area, they just exploded some areas with bombs for public deception so they continue looting.”
“The dam project has turned to a cancer for Faryab people and it has fallen to the hands of big thieves and deceivers, nothing has done in this project,” he said.
Abidi believed that there was rampant corruption involved in the dam project.
Meanwhile, Sayed Abdul Baqi Hashemi, Faryab provincial council member, also said that only a few points were excavated in the dam area but no actual work was so far started there.
“People are tired from the lies and deception of the contracted company and relevant organs, the people would soon start protests,” he said.
Faryab governor’s house acknowledged slow-paced work on the dam.
Naqibullah Fayeq, Faryab governor, complained about slow progress of the project and said that the company was just wasting time.
“No significant progress has made in Dahan Dara Dam and this important project has fallen to the hands of skillful thieves; I have prepared a detailed report about the issue and then shared with the president,” he said.
He said that he asked the president in the report to take to justice those taken the project and those awarded its contract to the current company.
“Faryab people have no fortune in major welfare projects, important projects such as the dam have been fallen to the hands of mafia in Faryab since the last 18 years, people got tired this time and they complain about it on daily basis,” he said.
The company which received the contract of the project says ractical work on the scheme would start soon after it receives fund.
Hamidullah Reza Fathullahzada, an official of MPATJV Company and manager of Dahan Dara Dam, said that they work in the area since a year but the design of the project was changed by former officials of the Minstry of Water and Energy.
He said the company spent $2 million on the project and they stopped working because the employer did not pay them their money.
Fathullahzada said that they have several times requested the water and energy minister for the fund, but the minister told them they could not provide the fund until changes made in the expenses of the design of dam finalized.
Initial work on the project has been completed and its fundamental work to begin soon, he said.
At least $600,000 is required every month to keep the construction moving, he said, adding that the company would stop work on the project if the required fund did not provide in the next few days.
He said that they provided a great service to Faryab people by changing the previous design which was prepared by Indian engineers, to an effective one that could store more water and removed technical problems it may have faced in the future.
National Water Affairs Regulation Authority (NWARA) officials say 95 percent initial work on the project has been completed.
Nizam Khpalwak, spokesman of NWARA, said that work on Dahan Dara Dam was underway but study and design of the project required time.
“We cannot start practical work on the project until its survey an design completed, but excavation is currently underway in the dam area and 95 percent of the design work has also completed,” he said.
He said that the company suggested a higher rate for implementation of the project but the issue would be reviewed by relevant committees for prices and the money would be prepared after the last decision approved by NWARA.
The prices may vary if design of the project completed, it may increase or decrease, he said.