Govt criticized for delay in Doshi-Bamiyan road project

Written by The Frontier Post

BAGHLAN/BAMIYAN (TOLOnews): Baghlan and Bamiyan residents on Tuesday criticized the government for a delay in the construction work on World Bank-funded Baghlan-Bamiyan road project that was started in 2015.

The Baghlan-Bamiyan road construction project is part of the Trans-Hindukush Road Connectivity Project funded by the World Bank. It has two components: The first component includes construction of Doshi-Bamiyan road—also called Baghlan-Bamiyan highway. The project will cost $170 million, according to data on World Bank website. The Trans-Hindukush Road Connectivity Project also includes the rehabilitation of the Salang Pass. The rehabilitation of the Salang road will cost $55 million, according to World Bank website information.

Data on World Bank website shows that so far, over $50 million has been paid by the World Bank to the Doshi-Bamiyan project from June 2016 to June 2020, but later in June, the bank has cancelled over $100 million of the $170-million project to support the Afghan government’s COVID-19 relief fund. The World Bank in a statement confirmed the transfer of $100 million to COVID-19 fund but said the cancellation is temporary and will not affect the ongoing construction contracts.

According to local authorities, at least 30 percent of the construction work of the project has been completed so far.

The Doshi-Bamiyan road connects Bamiyan province in the central Afghanistan with Baghlan province in northern Afghanistan as an alternative to Salang Pass, the only route that connects Kabul with north of the country. According Ministry of Public Works, a Chinese company has been contracted to work on the project.

“The construction company is not working properly. Sometimes it works for 20 days or a month, then stops working for two months,” said Mohammad Alam, a resident of Doshi district in the northern province of Baghlan.

“I bought this car for Afs200,000 ($2,600) a year ago, but now no one will buy it in even for Afs100,000 ($1,300) because of the damaged and unconstructed roads,” said Syed Mohammad, a resident of Tala Wa Barfak district.

According to the Ministry of Public Works, lack of budget has delayed the implementation of the project.

“The World Bank as donor and the Ministry of Finance should fund the project,” said Mohammad Ashraf Haqshinas, spokesman for Public Works Ministry. “The Ministry of Public Works is committed to completing the project.”

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