Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to inaugurate Salma Dam, a massive dam built and funded by India in Herat province.
Located in the Chesth-e-Sharif district, the hydro-electric project, which is on the Hari Rud river, is expected to benefit almost 100,000 families in four districts of the province, by providing them with electricity and irrigation water.
Experts meanwhile stand firm that if government undertakes such big hydro-electric dam construction projects, they will not only benefit the country economically but will also help create jobs for the people.
The dam, which is 20 km in length and three kilometers in width, has a water storage capacity of 640 million cubic meters. This will be utilized to generate 43 megawatts of electricity for 40,000 families and will irrigate 80,000 hectares of farmland, belonging to 50,000 families.
“It (Salma Dam) is needed and will provide facilities to our people in Herat province,” said Ahmad Farhad Khademi, Chesht-e-Sharif district chief.
However, it’s not only Herat residents who will benefit from the dam but people in other areas will also in time feel the results.
“If we manage to extend the power line till Ghor province, we will be able to provide electricity (generated by Salma Dam) to a number of districts there as well,” said Abdul Basir Azimi, spokesman for the Ministry of Energy and Water.
“The implementation of development projects is a solution; it is a way that can support security and can bring welfare to the people,” said Abdul Rauf Enami, secretary of the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament).
$300 million USD, funded by India, was spent on the construction of Salma Dam over the past one decade.
The dam was originally constructed in 1976 on the Hari river basin, but was badly damaged during the civil war in Afghanistan.
The reconstruction of the dam was first initiated by an Indian company in 1988, but the project was left incomplete for a significant period of time due to the ongoing instability caused by the civil war.
In 2006, India committed to funding the completion of the Salma Dam.