KABUL (Pajhwok): Pajhwok Afghan News findings show some portions of the newly-built Sardawra Road in the capital of northern Kunduz province are damaged before being inaugurated.
Asphalting of the 5.6 kilometers Sardawra Road cost $148 million afghanis under the National Road Construction Program of the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) with technical support from two contracted companies.
The second part of the road, which begins from Zir Dawra area of Kunduz Airport, is built in three phases in two months. Installation of solar-powered lights, flowerpots on walkways and some other features are part of the road project.
A number of civil society activists, provincial council members and local people criticize the quality of the road construction and say parts of the road have been damaged before a second layer of asphalting is performed.
Enayatullah Khaliq, a civil society activist in Kunduz city, told Pajhwok Afghan News that appearance of cracks in the newly asphalted part of the road showed huge corruption in the project.
“Our observation shows the project is subject to serious corruption, we are concerned about the way the project is being executed,” he said.
“The local administration is responsible to provide details about the project, including the quality of work and materials and the time it took and then share them with the public,” he added.
Khaliq insisted the road was not constructed based on the contract, saying the asphalt should have lasted a minimum of 20 years, but the project changing several hands and lack of monitoring from the government as well as embezzlement caused the road to destroy before inauguration.
Amruddin Wali, a provincial council member, said he had many times requested information about the method of the project was implemented from relevant officials, but they denied giving the information.
“The project falls prey to serious financial corruption and the local government should obligate the contracted companies to resolve technical problems of the scheme,” he added.
He said besides poor quality of construction materials, the road’s drainage was also not implemented on standard basis and rainwaters could completely destroy the road if the problem paid no attention.
Javid Amiri, a resident of Sardawar area of Kunduz city, said not more than two months had passed since the road’s construction, it was damaged from Kunduz Airport to Abdul Raziq Intersection of the city.
“If you see the road passing in front of Human Rights Commission, Counternarcotics Department and Traffic Department, you can see potholes on its surface,” he said.
Ghulam Nabi, another resident of Kunduz city, said, “If the road is not reconstructed again, it would be fully destroyed in a year.”
“There are no flowerpots, solar lights are installed only between Dawra area up to Abdul Raziq Intersection, there are no solar lights in other parts of the road,” he said.
However, documents of the project obtained by Pajhwok show that the road should have 70 poles of solar lights, cobblestones, route lines, height signs, caution signs, information signs and lighting poles, but most of these features are yet to be provided.
Kunduz people say only 45 poles have been installed and around a hundred meters of the road’s sidewalk is constructed with mosaic, but no other facilities provided yet.
Civil society activists, local people, provincial council members and elders of the province asked the government to improve the quality of the road construction and stop the project from being implemented with the persistent problems.
Kunduz Rural Rehabilitation and Development department refused to share a copy of the contract for the project but said that two companies were involved in the implementation of the scheme. It acknowledged problems in the project but said that the companies had promised to resolve them.
Eng. Dost Mohammad Rahihan, Kunduz Rural Rehabilitation and Development director, said that work on the project was started on February 29, 2020 and was completed on January 9 this year.
“This project is part of encouragement programs of the president which is financed by the Ministry of Finance and implemented by the National Road Construction Program by two companies,” he said.
He said that a team tasked with supervising the road construction quality had found that parts of the road were damaged and the issue had been shared with the central government.
“We took several samples of the road from Zir Dawra area up to Abdul Raziq Intersection, we shared them with the MRRD, the issue is under review and a team would probably come from the central government to repair the damages,” he said.
He said that the companies had guaranteed the road for a year and they should repair it if it was damaged before the period. Raihan said that 10 percent money of the project was not paid to the companies until a year of the project completion.
He called the project as important for Kunduz people and said that the scheme also created work for 300 people in the area.
Meanwhile, Esmatulalh Muradi, spokesman of Kunduz governor, said that the local administration was committed to implementing quality projects and it would not inaugurate the road project until the contractors resolved its problems.
Officials of the two companies refused to comment on the regard.