ASADABAD (Pajhwok): Four Solar Energy Parks at the cost of 92 million afs implemented against contract by Baldtak Engineering Construction Company (BECC), Pajhwok Afghan News reliably learned
The Ministry of Agriculture on January 16, 2020 lease out the construction of four solar energy parks to BECC for the irrigation of 2,000 acres Kunar agriculture rain-fed land.
These projects opened by officials of the previous government one year back but are of no use. According to the contract the company should used Indian spare parts but Pajhwok learned that Chinese low quality materials are used.
Two of these four solar parks built in Marawara district, third in Sarkano district and fourth in provincial capital Asadabad.
Pajhwok has received a follow up letter No. 31 dated June 29/2021 to the Ministry of Agriculture citing that the BECC implemented solar energy project in violation to the contract and used low quality materials.
In addition, a technical team tasked to monitor solar parks construction by BECC expressed dissatisfaction over the quality of work and stated the project implemented against the contract.
Solar Parks could not irrigate 4,000 hectares land
Mohammad Yousuf, not a real name, worked as technical employee during the construction of these projects, said vital technical material used in these solar parks are chines that lacked the capacity to irrigate 2,000 acres land.
He said Indian company material required for this project are expensive compared to Chinese therefore they were not used.
Pajhwok also availed the viewpoint of delegation tasked by the provincial government to monitor the project.
It wrote: “Material used in this project are not what is written in the contract. B and Q materials are used in the project against the contract. ”
Solar power networks are unusable: People
Syed Ishaq, a resident of Sarkano district of Kunar province, who owns a solar power grid on a three-acre land, said he allocated the land to the solar-powered water supply system in the hope that it would provide water to him and other villagers to irrigate their farms.
“The company and the people signed an agreement with me that I would give them three acres of land for the solar water supply network, and in return the owners of rain-fed lands would give me 4.4 tons of wheat during harvest time, but they gave me nothing since last two years. People are also not to blame because water cannot reach their land and they cannot grow anything,” he said.
He said the project was launched during the previous government but farmers were yet to benefit from it.
Akbar, a resident of Lachgali area, who has dedicated about three acres of his land to solar panels, said, “Millions of afghanis funds from the government’s reserves were spent in waste because the solar powered water supply project is a failure and it does not work now.”
He added that they were happy that the project would irrigate thousands of acres of land for him and his villagers and solve people’s problems in terms of water shortage, but the project failed due to poor supervision from the government and fraud by the contractor.
Former district chief of Sarkano, Syed Zewar Shah, wrote in a letter to the governor’s house, dated June 26, that the solar water supply project in Sarkano district was inaugurated by the agriculture department before some technical and construction processes of the project were completed.
“Sarkano solar power water supply project was inaugurated by deputy agriculture minister for natural resources, Kunar governor and provincial agriculture director in presence of media representatives when some key parts of the project were yet to be completed,” the letter read.
Another document shows that a contract was signed between the BECC and the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock for a solar water supply project based on which the BECC company should pay salaries of the project guards for a year, but the guards yet to receive their salaries.
Ehsanullah, a security guard at Lachgali Solar Power Grid, said that his monthly salary was 10,000 afghanis, which had not been paid for nine months.
He said that he sold a solar panel of the project a few days ago to meet his immediate needs.
Solar power project implemented in violation of the agreement: Officials
Mulavi EzatullahHidayat, director of agriculture and livestock ofKunar province, said that BECC had not implemented four solar power irrigation projects in the province properly and officials of the company had several times summoned for explanation but they were not ready for that.
He says he has now directed security officials in Kunar and Nangarhar to bring the company’s officials to justice.
Hidayat said that the technical equipment used in the project was not in accordance with the agreement and the company officials engaged in corruption.
A Pajhwok reporter repeatedly tried to get the opinion of the officials of BECC on the issue but they refused to talk.
Response from BECC:
However, Noor Mohammad Shafiq, head of BECC company, told Pajhwok that there were no problems in the water networks and all of them were operational.
In response to a question, he said that he did not find Indian products in the market, so he used Chinese products in the networks instead.
He added that he had repeatedly talked to the Ministry of Agriculture about Chinese products and the ministry was always in coordination with them.
Based on the available documents and statements of the officials, BECC company officials have received 74.7 percent of the project’s budget which amounts to 68.4 million afghanis, but the company did not implement the project according to the contract.