A Metropolitan City will soon be in Darkness

In: Taand, August 8th, 2014.

Due to shortage of power and electricity in Kandahar, out of 190 factories 90 have been closed and most of its citizens don’t have access to pure drinking water and other basic needs of life dependent on availability of electricity.

Three years ago USAID had established Diesel Electricity Generations Units in Kandahar province, up to now USD 308 Million have been spent on supply of fuel to run these DGs and in the meantime USD 220 Million have been spent by the Da Afghanistan Brishna Shirkat “DABS” for power generation in this province.

It is worth to mention that the contract of USAID to supply electricity through DGs will be expired in next 4 months, USAID had installed 10 Sets of Diesel generators but currently just 3 of them are active. This will lead to even more power shortage in the Kandahar Province.

Recent clashes in Helmand Province and no more USAID’s assistance for supply of fuel for the DGs electricity supply got affected & half of Kandahar province does not has electricity now. Due to unavailability of electricity from the DGs the 90 factories out of 190 have been closed which have affected the lives of common people. These closed factories were the source of jobs for the citizens and used to produce plastic materials, steel mills, cooking oil and soaps etc.

An independent journalist Mr. Sadiqullah Afghan has reported that “due to shortage of electricity the people of Kandahar are facing too many problems, unavailability of clean water for drinking purposes has affected the lives of the children and many of them are now facing various diseases”. Mr. Afghan further stated that the only source of power supply for Kandahar was the diesel generators which were provided by the USAID three years ago. USAID purchased maintenance equipments and supplied fuel at a cost of USD 308 Million. Similarly, the DABS spent USD 220 Million.

The only source of electricity for Kandahar City and its factories were the Diesel generators & Helmand‘s Kajaki hydropower dam. The Kajaki’s Dam generates 12 Megawatts & Diesel Generators give 8 Megawatt of electricity to Kandahar City. Unstable situation in south & reduction in USAID subsides have faced people with serious problems.

Due to shortage of electricity people now prefer to purchase the Solar Energy Systems and its find a lot of consumers, traders import it from the neighboring country Pakistan but the Local Government Authorities has increased its import tax from 5% to 10%.

Observers Say: “Afghan Government and International Union have not done the basic works in the field of electricity provision in the south of Afghanistan, if they wanted they could have provided a long term hydropower dams/stations at the total cost of the mentioned money. According to a survey conducted, The Kandahar Dahli Hydropower Dam has the capacity of running 10-15 turbines but now it has only one turbine. More than (200) millions US Dollars have been spent on Helmand Kajaki Hydropower Dam, but today it does not has the capacity to generate electricity even for Kandahar and Helmand provinces. So, this investment went in vain as it didn’t invest through the right channel and for the right purpose”.

On the other hand the spoke person of DABS (Mr. Wahidullah Tauhidi) rejects these statements by saying that till the end of 2014 they will extend a new power transmission line from Kajaki’s Dam to Kandahar by operationing a new turbine at Kajaki’s Hydropower facility. Repairing of a damaged transmission line last week to Kandahar has cost DABS 12 Million Afghanis. According to him they are ready to supply electricity to Kandahar without the financial of assistance of USAID who currently provides 20% grant for fuel supply to the DG sets. DABS might launch new projects and alternate sources of electricity to overcome the existing situation.

DABS will be operating the complete electricity supply of Kandahar till the end of 2015 as the USAID will not be subsidizing the power generation from DGs anymore.

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