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Hundreds voice support for TUTAP project via Salang pass

Hundreds voice support for TUTAP project via Salang pass

May 16, 2016 - 21:10

CHARIKAR (Pajhwok): Hundreds of tribal elders in central Parwan and Kapisa provinces and in northern parts of central Kabul province voiced their support for the government’s decision to build TUTAP power line through the Salang Pass.

The Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TUTAP) power project will import 500kv of electricity from the Central Asian states to energy-starved Pakistan through Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Energy and Water  has recommend the project be implemented through the Salang Pass crossing Baghlan province, but thousands of protestors have stressed the scheme must pass through central Bamyan.

Hundreds of tribal elders, members of parliament and religious leaders from Parwan, Kapisa and northern districts of Kabul gathered in Parwan’s Bagram district and insisted the TUTAP project be routed through the Salang Pass.

They said they were not against electricity to central provinces, but people who wanted the power line to pass through Bamyan only wanted to divide the Afghans and try to scuttle the vital economic scheme.

“The TUTAP route through the Salang Pass was decided three years back, so we support the government’s decision,” a former Parwan governor Abdul Basir Salangi said.

He said the government wanted to resolve electricity problem of Bamyan people through a separate line from Parwan, but protesters did not accept the government’s decision.

He said the power line be routed through Salang Pass. Salangi said 90 percent of people in Parwan, Kapisa, Panjsher provinces and northern districts of Kabul had no access to power and TUTAP belonged to entire Afghanistan.

Public representative from Parwan in Wolesi Jirga, Abdul Satar Khawasi, asked the government and the people present and the Chief Executive Officer not to surrender to a specific group and implement the project in a way that served the country’s interests.

Thousands of people on Monday marched through Kabul streets, demanding the TUTAP project be routed through Bamyan province.

The government has said the decision to change the route of the project came under the previous administration of former President Hamid Karzai and the Salang Pass route is shorter and more cost-effective.

President Ghani yesterday announced suspending the project for six months and tasking a commission to study the project documents.

On Monday, the government said the power line would be laid based on the 12-member commission’s proposals.