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MPs criticize transport officials over problems

MPs criticize transport officials over problems

Nov 01, 2017 - 22:54

KABUL (Pajhwok): The Wolesi Jirga or lower house of parliament on Wednesday criticized transport officials for not solving problems in the sector.

The house summoned acting transport minister, Mohammad Hamid Tahmasi, and head of Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA), Mohammad Shah Habibi, to brief lawmakers about corruption in land transport, increasing traffic accidents and high air tickets.

Tahmasi, who is also a presidential pick for the ministry he currently runs in acting capacity, said traffic accidents were a result of narrow roads, lack of traffic signals and checking of vehicles.

He said his ministry was planning to establish a centre where drivers were trained and vehicles checked in order to reduce accidents.

About urban services, he said TATA company of India had been ordered to prepare equipment for rehabilitation of 340 old busses. The contract with the company has been finalized and the equipment worth $2.5 million would be transferred to Afghanistan in near future, Tahmasi added.

Most the problems people faced in cities would be resolved with repairing of these buses, which would ply roads in Kabul and a other provinces.

Without giving details, the acting minister said 180 bus stations grabbed by strongmen over the past 16 years had been recovered.

The Ministry of Transport in cooperation with Kabul municipality would reactivate these bus stops, he said.

About corruption in land transport, he said: “The commission journals detailing transport vehicles have changed and new journals would be ready for use in the next one month.”

He said new journals would help prevent corruption to some extent because officers in previous journals could do any amount of corruption they wanted.

Over the past 16 years, more than 1,200 transport companies were issues licenses but most of them have problems in technical, administration and finance areas according to assessments, he added.

“The licenses of companies that lack enough capacity in technical, administration and finance would be cancelled after our evaluation,” he said.

Tahmasi said most of traffic accidents were due to lack of technical and administrative capacity of transport companies.

Mohammad Shah Habibi, ACAA, talking about the government’s contract with a United Arab Emirate (UAE) airline company, said that the contract was signed in 2010 and it would lead to losses to Afghans if cancelled.

He said Afghan airlines had no capacity of transporting more passengers compared to the UAE airline company.

“If the Afghan government wants to cancel or review the contract with the UAE company, it should be done through diplomatic channels because the UAE company is not ready for changing the contract,” he said.

Based on the current contract, the UAE airline operated seven flights between Kabul and UAE in a week, Habibi said.

About high flight ticket rates, he said most of the flights were performed by foreign airlines and the government could not press them to reduce rates.

About ticket rates of domestic airlines, he said domestic companies suffered $100 to $300 losses in each domestic flight.

Habibi said no foreign airlines could push domestic airlines into bankruptcy. Except $10 taken per passenger as tax in domestic flights, domestic airlines charged nothing else, he said.