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Work on Aqina Port’s Township to begin next year

Work on Aqina Port’s Township to begin next year

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3 Mar 2024 - 21:19
Work on Aqina Port’s Township to begin next year
author avatar
3 Mar 2024 - 21:19

MAIMANA (Pajhwok):  Some businessmen in the Aqina Port of northwestern Faryab province have deplored that the strategic plan and map of Aqina Port could not materialised after 13 years of its approval and there was no will and hope existed for its implementation in the future as well.

But the Aqina Port Municipality and the Department of Urban Development said implementation of the strategic plan would be started in the next solar year after the plan’s review and removal of defects in the map is completed.

According to the officials the Aqina Township is stretched on 5,000 acres land which is situated in the Khancharagh district of Faryab province bordering Turkmenistan and 156 kilometres north of Maimana, the provincial capital. The township was approved in 2011 by the then President Hamid Karzai.

Local businessmen and shopkeepers claimed that most properties and shops situated on important locations were distributed to individuals who are in Europe, US or Turkiye.

They said the destruction of old market and bazaar would not be allowed until justice is not ensured and local businessmen and shopkeepers are given priority.

Hamrah, the representative of local shopkeepers and businessmen in Aqina Port, said they were not ready to destroy the current market and displaced until justice is not ensured and the due rights of traders and shopkeepers in Aqina Township is not provided.

He said: “In the current market of Aqina Port, which was distributed by the municipality, about 200 shopkeepers and businessmen have been operating from the past 32 years, they have unbreakable transactions and ties, but these 200 shopkeepers and businessmen have been scattered among these new 3,000 shops in the new town, the owner of most of these shops are in Turkiye, Europe and US, one shopkeeper of the old market is allotted shop No. 100 and another is given shop No. 450 which is unfair.”

He said no one was against the implementation of the plan of the new township, unless out of the total 30 markets, two or three markets are allotted to oil sellers, shopkeepers and business people who are the working class of the society, they will start building it first, otherwise they do not want to destroy the current market and displace poor people.

Mohammad Ismael, one of the shopkeepers, said three markets comprised of 360 shops were allocated for the shopkeepers, oil sellers and businessmen in the new map of Aqina Township but due to the influence of powerful individuals, mafia groups during the republic regime this plan was not implemented.

He believed people who have long history of business in Aqina Port, felt the heat and cold and spend difficult time should be given priority in the construction of markets.

But Abdul Majeed Niazi, head of the Andkhoei Chamber of Commerce and Industry linked the problems such as the water shortage issue, shopkeepers and businessmen disputes, wrong advises of some municipality workers to the mayor as main factors behind the delay in the Aqina Port township implementation.

He said in the strategic plan of Aqina town, all the requirements are taken into account and they offered cooperation and support to Aqina municipality administration several times for starting the work of the town.

He said with the reopening of the port of Aqina, Turkmenistan simultaneously pledged the implementation of five projects, which include the construction of a clinic in Qarmqul district, the construction of a garden, a school, mosque’s Mehrab in Jawzjan and the extension of the water network to Aqina, four projects had been implemented but the water supply project, which is direly needed, has not yet been completed.

Niazi said traders, government officials and businessmen of Aqina port though a letter to the Turkmenistan Consulate General had requested the extension of the water supply network, but this issue should be raised and followed up at a highest level by high-ranking officials of the Afghan government.

​Pajhwok strived to get the view point of Turkmenistan Consul General, but one of the employees of the consulate told Pajhwok Afghan News that Bazaarbai Kabayov, the Turkmenistan Consul General will arrive in Balkh after two weeks.

Naizi said that Aqina port was considered one of the most important and profitable ports of the country and almost one hundred companies from Central Asia, Iran, Turkey and Europe have import and export from this route.

He stressed over the launch of work on Aqina Township keeping in mind the growth of trade activities on this port, and stressed over the facilities for companies, businessmen, and government offices to develop this port.

He said daily up to 50 wagons and around 200 trucks loaded with petroleum products, construction materials and food entered Afghanistan through this port delivering imports and from 10 to 15 trucks loaded with raisins, sweets, boyah, carpets, pistachio and sesame exited to deliver exports.

Abdul Jabbar Niazi, the Aqina Port mayor, said that the detail work of Aqina Port’s map and strategic plan was up to 70 percent completed and efforts were underway that by the next year its practical work on this plan will get started.

According to the mayor flaws in the township map, non-availability of water and the issuance of ownership papers for the shopkeepers of the existing 30 markets were the main reasons behind the non-implementation of the township’s master plan.

The map had been sent to the Urban Development Department for corrections, he added.

Niazi said said the implementation of the town map the provision of water, electricity and roads were costly, and by fixing the defects of the map by the Department of Urban Development the construction of two markets which include 240 shops would be launched on priority bases and individuals who have property ownership documents in the township would be given priority.

​The mayor said: “The market and shops in Aqina have not been distributed and constructed according to the plan, and at the same time, the current market land included in the strategic plan that has been distributed to government departments such as ASTRAS, National Bank, Customs, Transport, Afsuter and other departments”.

He said the strategic plan of the new township included around 300 shops, 150 buildings, 1,000 residential plots, more than 100 parks for unloading and loading of commercial goods and almost 40 facilities most of which are built by the relevant government departments while parking for trucks and other facilities would be built by businessmen, with the implementation of this strategic plan this port would be developed.

Mayor Niazi rejected the intervention and incorrect advice of the former employees of this department regarding the non-implementation of the strategic plan and said that all employees in this department worked according to the government rules and regulations and said whatever had been said was a propaganda.

​Mawlavi Khal Merza Zulfiqar, head of the Urban Development Affairs Department, said there were some problems in the coordinates and topography of the strategic plan of Aqina Township strategic plan, some commercial factories and government buildings were established against the procedures of the Ministry of Urban Development, and some changes have been made in implementation of the plan.

He said In order to ensure the implementation and outline of the detailed plans and the strategic plan approved by the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing, one of the engineers of the Urban Development Department along with an official letter had been sent a to Kabul to get the coordinates and topography of the area.

He said if the coordinates are not available and the map is not revised, it is possible that a part of the map will be placed inside the territory of Turkmenistan during implementation or cause other problems.

Head of the Urban Development Department said that after the strategic plan review and removal of defects its implementation will start in the next solar year (1403).

Mohammad Kamal Afghan, spokesperson for the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing, said the ministry was a policy making body and they handed over the implementation of the strategic plan to the municipality.

He asked the provincial Urban Development Department to provide information regarding the problems present in the strategic plan of Aqina Port Township.

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