GHAZNI CITY (Pajhwok): Some residents of Andar district of southern Ghazni province have asked the government to reactivate the historic Sardi Dam while officials say more than 37,000 acres of the project’s land has been usurped.
A former worker of the Sardi dam project, Abdul Jalil, told Pajhwok Afghan News, an independent directorate which had vast administrative structures and over 3,500 officials and workers would manage the project.
The income of the project was spent on security matters in the past and most of its equipment, machinery and other assets were looted by warlords during the civil wars. “The remaining machinery is out of work, however, some is repairable. No one bothered during the past 35 years to repair the broken machinery of this project”.
The Sardi Dam would irrigate over 43,000 acres of land and was a good revenue source for the government and helped decreased unemployment Abdul Jalil recalled.
This project was founded during the time of last king of Afghanistan Zahir Shah on 32 square kilometers of land and generated jobs opportunities for 3,500 workers.
Haji Amruddin, a resident of the area, he said if the project was activated, it would be a positive step and would benefit most residents.
The dam’s reactivation will not only generate hundreds of jobs but will also irrigate thousands of acres of land.
According to him, in the past, poor people would rent land for cultivating crops from the government in different parts of the country, which benefited both the government and the people. But most of such land was later usurped by powerful individuals
Local officials consider the Sardi Dam one of the biggest projects in the country and say it must be paid attention and reactivated.
Sardi Dam project director Noorulhaq Mansour told Pajhwok it was the second largest dam in the country established in 1967 and has two large water canals.
These canals are 31 and 21 kilometers long which then split into many tiny canals and irrigate about 43,000 acres of land.
Over 37,000 acres of all 43,000 acres of land of this project has been grabbed by powerful individuals.
He said: “Most of the land of this project was usurped due to negligence of the previous governments and the current government needs to retake it back from the grabbers. We have shared a list and details of the land grabbers with relevant authorities.”
Ghazni residents are asking the government to reactivate the Sardi dam at a time when the government plans is out to build more dams in the country to minimize the impacts of drought.