Published on 29 Aug 2011 at 10:14
According to the governor, paving the roads will step up the pace of development in education, health and tourism.
Bamian- Zahra is waiting by the side of the newly paved road in Shaydan village, about 20 kilometers outside of Bamian city. The 45-year-old mother wants to take her sick child into Bamian for treatment, and is waiting for a car.
“I used to have to walk or go by donkey whenever I needed to go to the city,” she said. “But since this road was built, we can solve our problems much more quickly.”
The road has proven a lifesaver for the residents of her village, added Zahra. She meant this quite literally: in the past, many women died in childbirth, because of bad roads and the long distances to hospitals and clinics.
Food, also, is now cheaper, because it costs less to transport it, she added.
Zahra is one of hundreds of women in Shaydan whose lives are now better because of the road. The men of the village are also satisfied that the paving of the road has made a big, and positive, difference.
“Bamian has a lot of needs, but road construction is an economic priority”, said Hossaindad Hamdard, an official in the Bamian governor’s office.
According to provincial officials, the construction and paving of roads is essential to Bamian’s development.
Dr. Habiba Surabi, the Governor of Bamian, agrees.
“The asphalting of roads has been a priority in the development strategy for Bamian Province,” she said. “Unfortunately, Bamian and its people have been kept in isolation for years, which has resulted in economic and cultural backwardness for the province.”
According to the governor, paving the roads will step up the pace of development in education, health and tourism. “The infrastructure for the roads linking Bamian with Kabul, Maidan, and Doshi, as well as internal roads within the province, including the road to Yakaolang, will be completed soon,” she added.
Akbar Mohammadi, Executive Manger of the Bamian Chamber of Commerce, was similarly upbeat.
“Once Bamian’s roads are constructed, we can start to exploit the Hajigak mine and establish industries in Bamian,” he said. “This way we can promote the province as an important economic center.”
Mohammadi points out that the lack of paved roads has created a lot of problems for the residents of Bamian. Farmers, for example, have had great difficulty in exporting their agricultural products to other regions of the country.
Mehdi Mohammadi, an economic analyst in Bamian also believes that the improvement of roads will play a key role in Bamian’s development.
“Asphalted roads can help bring in tourists from other parts of Afghanistan and even from abroad.”
“Asphalted roads can help bring in tourists from other parts of Afghanistan and even from abroad,” he said. “Also, nearly 70,000 tons of potatoes that are produced annually in Bamian can be easily and quickly exported to other provinces or other countries.”
Asphalted roads will ease the transport of people and products and travelers, and slash prices.
“Paved roads play a remarkable role in decreasing the price of products,” said Engineer Khadim Fitrat, the Mayor of Bamian
Most Bamian shopkeepers agree.
“It used to take several days to transport products to Bamian when we did not have paved roads,” said Haji Hossain, owner of Insaf Super Store in Bamian city. “The roads were rough and vehicles’ fares were high. Now fares have decreased and prices are also more reasonable.”
But some people are concerned that the quality of the asphalt is poor, and that the roads will not last, despite the large amount of money spent on their construction.
“The streets of Bamian city that were paved three years were of poor quality,” said resident Akbar Bamiani. ”Fortunately, last year those streets were reconstructed and the quality is good.”
Engineer Abdul Qadir, head of Bamian’s Department of Public Welfare, believes that the quality of the 98-kilometer Bamian-Yakaolang road is satisfactory. The road was built by a Korean company.
“We have not heard any complaints about this road,” he said.
But according to Abdul Qadir, the quality of the Bamian-Kabul road that goes through the Ghorband valley is not good. But quality control was not within the purview of his Department, he added.
“Supervision of road construction is the responsibility of the donors,” he said.
Abdul Qadir said that the important projects, linking Bamian with Yakaolang, Maidan, Parwan and Doshi are well underway.
“So far, 120 kilometers of road have been paved,” he said.
According to Abdul Qadir, construction of roads in Bamian is difficult and time-consuming because the province is rough and mountainous. “The construction of the Bamian–Yakaolang road started in 2008 and it is still going on,” he said. “It has taken nearly four years.”
Bamian province has six districts, only one of which – Yakaolang – has so far been connected to Bamian city by paved road. The rest of the province’s districts still have only dirt roads linking them to the center.
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