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China will give only part of the money for the rehabilitation of the key section of the Dushanbe-Khorog road

Written by The Frontier Post

BEIJING (asiaplustj): The Ministry of Justice of Tajikistan published on its portal of legal information the text of an agreement on the provision of gratuitous aid by China in the amount of 800 million yuan ($ 125 million) for the rehabilitation of the Kalai Khumb-Vanj section of the Dushanbe-Khorog-Kulma highway.

“The Government of the People’s Republic of China provides the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan with gratuitous aid in the amount of RMB 800 million to replenish the insufficient funds of the project for the construction of partial key sections of the second phase of the Dushanbe-Kulma highway and the implementation of other agreed projects,” the document says.

Under the key sites, as previously explained in the Ministry of Transport of Tajikistan, a road is supposed from the administrative center of the Darvaz region to the Vanj region – the border of the Rushan region.

This site is called key because of its impassability: most of it passes through solid rocks. 

This agreement was signed by the governments of the two countries in July this year, and on October 9, the document was sent by a government decree to ratify the parliament.

The council of the lower house of parliament discussed the text of the agreement last Monday, after which the website of the chamber published erroneous information that China will give 800 million yuan for the development of a Feasibility Study (Feasibility Study) by Chinese specialists.

The information, as expected, surprised a certain part of the Tajik society, since the funding for the preparation of feasibility studies for such projects is hundreds of times less than the above amount.

What is a feasibility study?

A feasibility study is a confirmation of the technical viability of the project and the feasibility of its implementation from an economic point of view.

The main task in the development of a feasibility study is to assess the costs of the project, forecast the results, and determine the payback period of investments.

Feasibility studies and construction works have separate budgets. For the preparation of a feasibility study, consulting companies are usually involved, and a construction company is involved in laying the road.

The financial costs of construction work, as noted above, are hundreds of times higher than the costs of developing a feasibility study.

Tightening gasket

The rehabilitation of the Dushanbe-Khorog road in GBAO has a sadly long history.

At the end of 2019, the President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, during his address to the parliament, said that “for the fourth year, the design institute under the Ministry of Transport cannot prepare one normal project for the reconstruction of the Kalai Khumb-Vanj highway”.

The President noted that the development of the project for this section was commissioned back in 2015.

In 2020, after the spread of Covid-19, work in this area was sent to the back burner.

In the summer of last year, Emomali Rahmon, at a meeting with residents of the Vanj region, said that work on the rehabilitation of this site would begin by the end of 2020.

However, the ceremony of the official launch of the project for his rehabilitation took place only at the end of last month during the president’s visit to GBAO.

The length of this section of the road is currently 109 km.

As part of the rehabilitation, it is planned to reduce the length of the section by 16.7 km, it is planned to build here a two-lane road of the 3rd technical category, two tunnels (5.2 km long), a gallery with a total length of 490 meters, 15 bridges (634 meters) and other objects.

The rehabilitation budget for this site is estimated at about $ 200 million.

Unbelievable but true

The Dushanbe-Khorog highway through GBAO was built in 1940 in a record three and a half months.

Historian Gafur Shermatov believes that there has never been such a record in the world road construction before and even today.

Until 1940, it was possible to get from Khorog to Dushanbe only after driving 732 kilometers to Osh (Kyrgyzstan) by carriage road, and then 1551 kilometers by rail.

True, attempts to build a direct Dushanbe-Khorog road were undertaken back in 1932-1933, but due to the colossal volume of work and the lack of material and technical resources, these attempts were unsuccessful.

All goods were delivered only by pack transport through mountain passes and abysses along narrow dizzying paths and gullies. In addition, these trails were closed for a significant part of the year.

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The Frontier Post

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