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Kajaki dam’s 3rd turbine to be operational in a year

in Afghan Business

Kajaki dam’s 3rd turbine to be operational in a year

Kajaki DamThe much-awaited third turbine at the Kajaki hydropower dam in southern Helmand province would be operational in a year’s time, said Governor Mohammad Naeem.

Work on the installation of the third turbine was delayed due to security threats.

Having the capacity to produce 18.5MW of power, the third turbine incurs a total cost of USD 266mn funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

An agreement was signed between Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), Afghan national electricity company, and the USAID on the installation of the critically needed turbine at Kajaki Dam last December.

Governor Naeem said a series of security operations had been conducted to address some of the security issues that hindered implementation of the project.

The United States of America has taken the responsibility of completing the construction of the Kajaki Dam, which is considered to be one of the major infrastructure projects in Helmand province.

The project, which is expected to be completed by 2015, will generate electricity to 332,000 Afghans in the South of Afghanistan (Helmand and Kandahar), and many Afghans will have job opportunities.

Kajaki is also a symbol of the American presence in Afghanistan dating back to the 1950s and the Cold War. That was when the U.S. built the original dam, with a powerhouse added in the 1970s. But before the three turbines could be installed, the Soviets invaded and construction stopped. The dam was still squeezing out a bit of power in 2001 when the U.S. attacked and, ironically enough, bombed the dam’s power transmission line.

About USD 400mn has flown into the implementation of the project so far; however, the dam is yet to meet the electricity demand of people in Helmand and Kandahar.

Meanwhile, a number of residents have lost the hope of seeing the project succeed and of the promises fulfilled.

The Kajaki Dam currently supplies 50% electricity needs in Helmand and Kandahar and the irrigation canals irrigate dry lands.

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