Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Changing TUTAP Route

For a heterogenous society like Afghanistan it is really important that justice and fair-play should be safeguarded as much as possible. Different sections and people of such a society expect that they are properly treated and their rights are protected. Justice should treat every one equally and should never turn against the minorities.

Unfortunately, Afghanistan has been largely influenced by instability and civil wars, that have even resulted in certain communal rifts and there have been many opportunists who have taken advantages of such rifts. Therefore, it is really important that the communal rifts should not be promulgated again and there should be efforts to nip it in the bud.

As now, Afghanistan is a democratic country and its system is based on justice and fair-play it is really important that the different development projects that are pursued in the country must benefit all equally. Equal and just development of the society will definitely play a massive role in rooting out the concerns and grievances and bring the people together.

It is basically one of the major issues in Afghanistan that different districts and provinces are not able to receive the benefits of the developments that have been or are being made. Mostly, the rural parts of the country are not able to see the facilities of life approach to them. They are, therefore, neglected and they develop different types of grievances.

So, the development projects both by the government and the NGOs must keep in consideration that all parts of the country regardless of who live their get equal shares. If a project is implemented at a place just because people from a particular community live there and the intend is also to give that community an advantage over the others, it would be a great injustice and may not serve its purpose, because, ultimately, it is only the harmonious development of the country as a whole that can generate positive results.

For Afghanistan it is vital to pursue this golden rule of justice and equal development. Unfortunately, it has not been able to do so as yet. Though, the government as a whole does not intend it, there are some opportunists who always want to satiate their thirst of narrow-mindedness and communal inclinations. They are the ones who think that they are performing service to their people, but by doing so they only manage to grow the seeds of civil wars that will ultimately bring disorder and misery to everyone alike.

It is really vital that different provinces in Afghanistan must benefit from all sorts of developments. Particularly, the central highlands must be given attention in this regard as the negligence from the relevant authorities have made the residents live their lives in a very miserable condition. Most of the districts in this region do not have the basic requirements of life at all. There is shortage of food, particularly, during the cold weather. No proper arrangement for clean drinking water can be found. No considerable opportunities for education can be found. The roads are not constructed. There is no electricity and health facilities. And, more unfortunate fact is that  there are no tangible plans as well to work for all these requirements. Even the projects that may benefit this region indirectly are being moved to other parts of the country.

The example of TUTAP project is very much relevant in this regard. TUTAP is one of the important regional economic projects agreed among Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan (TUTAP) which is expected to be extended to Pakistan through Afghanistan with a transmission capacity of 500MW power from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan and other south Asian countries specially Pakistan. The German Fischer Co carried out a survey on this project that has already drafted power master plan of China, Pakistan and other countries. According to this survey, Bamyan is the best route for TUTAP project, due to its available reliable security and its common borders with north east and northern provinces. According to officials of Fischer Co, Bamyan is a safe and cheap course for extension of TUTAP project.  However, the recommendations from Fischer Co. is now being ignored and there are considerations to change the route and adopt Salang pass. This change of route is not advisable as it would both increase the cost and the risks to the project.

Vice President Mohammad Sarwar Danish has also voiced concerns regarding the implementation of the  project through Salang pass, insisting that the multi-million dollar project could be jeopardized with devastating Salang risks and ignoring the recommendations of the consulting companies which sketched the master plan of the project.

He wrote a letter to Ministry of Energy and Water and Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat, and called for technical approach to implement the project and consider the needs of the residents of the central provinces for their access to electricity. Ignoring the factors like cost, security, technicality and feasibility, and changing the route for TUTAP project would mean an injustice; an injustice, to ignore people from a particular community and benefit others.