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Thousands protest in Kabul demanding change in power line route

Protestors assault journalists

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: Tens of thousands of Hazaras came out to street Monday protesting government’s decision on Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TUTAP) power line route. Protesters demand for the reroute of the power line from Salang valley to Bamyan province.

The protestors marched from Pul-e-Sukhta down to Dehmazang area around two kilometers men and women attended the protest holding banners and chanting “we want justice”.

“Today’s protest, where men and women took part aimed at seeking justice,” said deputy head of the High Peace Council and one of the organizers of protest Mohammad Karim Khalili.

“We want justice end protested raise voice against injustice,” Khalili added.

He said that such protest show that people support justice and democracy

Member of Parliament Ahmad Behzad said that this protest was run to seek justice.

“We want our rights noting more,” Behzad said.

“Protest will be continued till the government steps up efforts according to our expectation,” he insisted.

The TUTAP sparked challenge and protest among people when the government announced that the project would be transferred through Salang Pass, but Hazara people ask for the transfer of the line through Bamyan province.

Meanwhile Da Afghanistan Brishna Sherkat (Afghan Power Company) says that current project of power which is in hand is not TUTAP project. It is the second power extension line from Pul-e-Khomri to Kabul.

He said that this is 300mw electricity line which will cost $117 million.

The rout of Salang for the current project of 300mw power from Pul-e-Khomri to Kabul is technically and financially better, he added. This is the line which will get power from Turkmenistan

This is the line which will come to Kabul and latter goes to Kandahar, Logar, Paktia and grant power to all provinces located in these routes.

Kabul Police Spokesman Basir Mujahid said that Afghan forces in coordination will prepared to control security in the city and operate well to defeat any security issues.

Some provinces like Khost, Paktia, Parwan also protested in the past three days in their provinces and wanted the transfer of power line from Salang not Bamyan.

Also government by releasing a statement said that change of route of power transferring through Salang was discussed in last government cabinet, where the National Unity Government at the objective of providing electricity to Bamyan, postponed the finalized project of 500kv for six months. A committee will be assigned to assess all possible means in order to provide electricity to Bamyan.

The road blockades caused dozens of problems for the Kabul inhabitants who were deprived of getting access to medical services, work, school and shopping centers.

 

The government will hold steps to provide electricity to Bamyan earlier than timeline (2023) through 300mw project.

 

TUTAP is one of the big regional projects.This project is being funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) worth one billion USD. The project is based for regional cooperation and Afghanistan plays key role in connecting central Asia with South Asia, considering the shared interest of each entities. Afghanistan would enjoy transit rights and thousands of houses, laying in route of the said power transmission line, would benefit energy facilities.

The construction of the power transmission line would be finalized till 2018 and Afghanistan not only well be paid transmission amount, but also would receive electricity which will help to meet current domestic needs for the energy.

It is pertained to mention that Most of the Kabul city roads were blocked by locating container by the government particularly around presidential palace and Ministries of Interior and Defense, where no vehicle and pedestrian was allowed to pass the area.

“Due to protest most of the roads to the city were blocked and people were faced big traffic challenges,” said Ahmad Nabi one of the Kabul residence.

President Ashraf Ghani appreciated the Afghan security forces for providing security to the protesters during the rally on Monday in Kabul. In his televised short speech to the nation, President Ghani said that based on laws everyone has the right to protest, peacefully.

He also lauded residents of the capital city for showing patience during the demonstration. President Ghani said that the government strongly believes in equal development and opportunities for all citizens.

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