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TOLOnews.com By TOLOnews.com 14 August 2013
Amarjit Singh, the Indian Consular-General in Herat province, said that the Salma Dam construction project would be completed within a year with the help of the Indian government.

As a part of its financial assistance programme for reconstruction and development in Afghanistan, the Indian government invested $300 million in the Salma Dam project, which was initiated in 2006. The Indian government recently announced the completion of 75 percent of the construction. The hydroelectric dam will serve as a power generator for the region as well as an irrigation tool for agricultural lands in the area.

"Salma Dam will be completed within a year, the dam will start working within a year, and I want to reiterate that the Indian government is committed to this project," said Mr. Singh.

Muhammad Ismail, the Afghan Minister of Water & Energy, refuted the allegations that Iran has tried to obstruct the construction of the dam, saying that there is absolutely no evidence of such wrongdoing.

"No country, including Iran or the militants is trying to halt the construction of the Salma dam. I reject the alleged reports," said Mr. Ismail.

The Salma Dam project and its personnel have been the targets of numerous attacks and attempted-attacks by unknown assailants. In May, six security guards of the project were killed by a roadside bomb explosion near the construction site. At the time, local security officials speculated that the attack was politically motivated, and perhaps perpetrated by foreign agents looking to derail development in Afghanistan.

Rahmatullah Safai, Chief of Herat Police, and Syed Fazlullha Wahidi, the head of the Provincial Council, have said that they would not any malefactors inhibit the successful construction of the dam.

"I assure that we will foil any attempt directed at stopping the construction of Salma dam," said Mr. Safai.

"The dam will help in agriculture, irrigation and livestock sectors in Herat. People will also get better access to electricity," said Mr. Wahidi.

Once the dam is operational, it is expected to provide 75,000 acres of land in Heart with irrigation and produce 45 MW of electricity.

Construction of the dam was supposed to be completed three years back, but due to growing security issues in the region as well as financing troubles the project was delayed.


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