AT-KABUL: The Ministry of Public Works (MoPW) on Sunday assured of full preparation to keep all roads, including Salang Highway open for traffic during winter season.
Talking in a one-day coordination winter cooperation session held here in Kabul, Minister of Public Works Mahmoud Baligh said that he would utilize 106 Japan donated tractors with snow removal attachments to remove snow from highways especially Salang Tunnel.
“These tractors will help us to clear snow from provincial highways and local roads in different parts of snow-hit areas,” he said.
He said that 17 out of 33 snow remover tractors, currently in Mazar-e-Sharif would be soon distributed to the provincial departments of MoPW.
He furthered that 53 tractors out of 73 would be sent to different provinces from Kabul where still 28 tractors would be remained here.
“Only Ministry of Public Works has the responsibility to remove snows from highways, and none has the right to ink contracts with private companies for cleaning the highways from snow,” he said.
He added that only those roads would be cleared by private companies where there are no state snow remover tractors.
Replying to a query, Baligh said that budget has been allocated to remove snow from Salang Tunnel. He added that professional engineers were trained in Japan to maintain the tunnel during winter season.
He also said that the World Bank would fund and start work over the Jabul Saraj-Salang Tunnel and Doshi-Bamyan roads projects at the end of this month (October).
He warned the relevant officials of the MoPW provincial departments of legal action in case they failed to maintain the roads during winter.
Deputy Minister, Engineer Aaref, said that there are 7,000 kilometers snow-hit roads in 24 province including Salang tunnel that would be cleared by tractors donated by Japan.
He added that 32 other Japan donate snow remover tractors are on the way and will reach Kabul soon.
Director of Salang Highway, Gen. Rajab, said that efforts have already been taken to maintain Salang Tunnel.