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Editorial: Power sector

Power sector plays crucial role in development of the post-conflict economies and infrastructure rebuilding. As most of the time, the Afghan governments were busy to address security-related challenges. The leaders have taken utmost efforts to convince the neighboring countries to support Afghan-owned peace process and war against terrorism. Therefore, the power sector got little attention, but it was not ignored completely because the policymakers realize its importance. Besides that, the anti-state elements have also targeted power projects and blown up electricity pylons to plunge major cities into darkness. These attacks were aimed to prevent the country from development. To ensure security of the power projects and repair the damages, the government had allocated resources to this sector, thus, affecting the war against extremism. For militants it was a tactic of divergence.

However, this sector is now going in the right direction. The previous government has tried to garner international and regional support to build hydropower dams and import electricity to run the energy-starving industries which were on the verge of collapse. Construction and expansion work over different dams were initiated by the Karzai government. The previous government has also taken steps to import electricity from energy-rich Central Asian countries. Continuing these positive policies, the current government is paying due attention to the power projects.

Expansion of the Kajaki dam is a step forward in this regard. The government has signed a contract for further development of the dam. The dam will produce 151.5 megawatt of electricity once the phase-2 was completed. The dam reservoir will be expanded to hold 2.1 billion cubic meters water to generate 151.5 MW of electricity.

Better security is linked to improved economy. Strengthening the national economy will provide jobs to thousands of unemployed people. Industrialization also brings different groups closer and strengthens national unity. However, to kick off the industrialization process, the country needs enormous amount of energy to run factories, attract investment and mechanize the agriculture sector. Electricity also improves communication and transportation system which are considered backbone of any financial system.

Besides building and expansion of dams, the relevant authorities shall device plans to promote the concept of free energy so people in remote areas would not be dependent on the government. Concerned departments shall provide subsidy and technical support to the locals to build magnet powered generators to irrigate their lands and power their houses. Furthermore, the government should install small wind turbines with financial support of either local communities or private sector. Supply of electricity from alternative energy sources to people living in far-flung areas will help the authorities to provide cheap power to the industries to attract more investment and compete with the regional countries.

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