KABUL: The Afghan ministry of water and energy signed the agreement for the construction of Machalgho dam with a Russian firm.
The accord was signed in the presence of Chief Executive Officer Dr Abdullah Abdullah and Russian ambassador to Kabul Alexander Mantytskiy.
Addressing the ceremony, Minister for Water and Energy Ali Ahmad Usmani termed the Machalgho dam of vital importance said it would provide irrigation water for about 300,000 hectares of land in the southeastern provinces.
He said funds of $ 22.9 million were required for the construction of the dam. The project would be completed in three years, he added.
A portion of the 47-meter deep Machalgho dam would also be able to generate power, he maintained.
The construction of the dam had been given to two companies in 2010, he said. However, they could not complete the project in time. The standard of their work was also low. Due to these reasons, he said the agreement was taken back from those firms.
The Machalgho dam is located in Ahmadabad district of Paktiya province. People have been hoping for the construction of the dam since long.
Chief Executive Officer Dr Abdullah Abdullah said they hoped the Russian firm would complete construction of the dam on standard basis as per the accord. Felicitating the people of Paktiya on the project, Dr Abdullah urged them not to allow enemies of the country to create hurdles in the path of basic development projects.
On the occasion, Russian ambassador to Kabul Alexander Mantytskiy said the project was an example of cooperation between the two countries. He hoped other Russian investors and firms would also be given chances of investment in Afghanistan.
Addressing the gathering, head of project design agency and representative of this firm in Afghanistan, Hamid Noori pledged that the project would be executed on standard basis as per the agreement.
It is pertinent to mention here that the water and power ministry signed three agreements of power generation and utilization of water on December 06, this year. The accord of Machalgho dam was also expected to be signed on the same day. However, it could not be signed as the representatives of the Russian firm could not reach in time.