Reconstruction of Salma dam begins with Indian aid

Herat, December 17, 2004 - Reconstruction work of the Salma dam, in eastern Herat was officially opened by the Indian Ambassador to Kabul, Week Katchoo on Thursday with the help of US$79 million aid from the Indian government.

The Indian ambassador to Kabul, Week Katchoo, said two Indian engineers will be overseeing the project.

It is estimated that the project will take four years to complete and the dam itself will be rebuilt first and then the irrigation systems and then its power-producing turbines and machines.

The Salma dam was originally constructed in 1976 on the Hari Rud river Basin in Northwest Afghanistan. The reconstruction will provide the water requirements of Herat province and support a 42 MW of hydropower for the province when completed.

It would also increase irrigation capacity of nearly 25,000 hectares of agricultural land, according to a spokesman for the Herat governor spokesman, Mohammadullah Afzali.

Ambassador Week said they will also use the money to rebuild the 170km-long road leading to the site in Chesht district.

The governor of Herat, Sayed Mohammad Khairkhwa, who joined the ambassador at the opening ceremony, thanked India for its reconstruction aid. "As reconstruction of this road was the job of the government and needed a large budget we thank the Indian government for its help."

The Indian firm contracted to the project, Water and Power Consultancy Services (India) Ltd (WAPCOS), a firm under the Indian ministry of water resources, will be expected to complete the project within four years.