Tuesday July 16, 2019
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Salma dam nears completion, Afghans thank India

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www.khaama.com

Kabul: People in Afghanistan’s western province of Herat were on Tuesday full of praise for India for its key role in the reconstruction of the nation, especially construction of the Salma dam which is nearing completion and whose reservoirs have started filling up with the much-needed water.

Photo credit: www.snipview.com
Photo credit: www.snipview.com

A group of grateful residents went to the Indian consulate there and expressed their gratitude to the Indian officials for the key role played by India in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, particularly the Salma dam- the biggest project by the Indian government in the country.

Local musicians sang Indian songs and presented flowers to workers of the consulate.

India is spending $300 million on the dam project, expected to produce 42 MW of electricity and water nearly 80,000 hectares of farmland, according to Afghan news agency Khaama Press.

The reservoir, which is 20 km in length and 3 km in width, started filling up last month and is expected to be completed in around 9-12 months.

The reconstruction of Salma dam started during the tenure of Sardar Mohammad Dawoud Khan decades ago, but the project was halted because of the war in the country.

The project was restarted in 2005 and is scheduled to be completed in 2016.

The hydroelectric and irrigation project is being constructed on the Hari Rud river in Chiste Sharif district.

It is the flagship infrastructural project of India’s developmental assistance program to Afghanistan.

The project includes construction of a 107.5-metre-high and 550-metre-long rock-filled dam and other typical components of the hydroelectric power project such as spillways, powerhouse, switchyard, and transmission line.

The dam is of immense importance to Afghanistan and will be greatly beneficial in solving the issue of electricity generation in the country.

The dam construction faced some tough times. According to a statement by the Consul General of India in Herat, the dam faced many logistical constraints and security challenges contributing to a delay of many years.

Salma dam was initially built in 1976 on the Hari river basin, but was damaged during the war in Afghanistan. The rebuilding of the dam was first started by an Indian company (WAPCOS Ltd.) in 1988, but the project was left incomplete for a significant period of time due to the instability caused by the war.

In 2006, India committed to funding the completion of the dam at an estimated cost of $200 million, said Outlook Afghanistan.

Afghan leaders and people have welcomed the news that major portion of the work was completed, and they expect that insecurity and political situation will not hamper the remaining work.

Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah last week expressed satisfaction with the completion of parts of the long-awaited dam.

The dam, he hoped, would help resolve the problem of shortage of energy and power besides strengthening the agriculture sector in the western zone.

Earlier, India’s Consul General Amit Kumar Mishra said the project passed a critical stage on July 26 with the closure of the diversion tunnel gate and the start of filling of the reservoir.

“India has been very supportive to Afghanistan as far as economic growth and the infra-structure development are concerned. The people of Afghanistan consider India as a friend and always appreciate its help. India at the same time has kept on assisting Afghanistan in different development projects and Salma dam is just another example in the same regard,” said Outlook Afghanistan.

(IANS)

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India Aborts Launch of Spacecraft Intended to Land on Far Side of Moon

The Chandrayaan-2 mission was called off when a “technical snag” was observed in the 640-ton, 14-story rocket launcher

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India, Spacecraft, Moon
A spectator holds an Indian flag after a mission of Indian Space Research Organization's Chandrayaan-2, with the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle on board was called back because of a technical snag in Sriharikota, India, July 15, 2019. VOA

India aborted the launch Monday of a spacecraft intended to land on the far side of the moon less than an hour before liftoff.

The Chandrayaan-2 mission was called off when a “technical snag” was observed in the 640-ton, 14-story rocket launcher, Indian Space Research Organization spokesman B.R. Guruprasad said.

The countdown abruptly stopped at T-56 minutes, 24 seconds, and Guruprasad said that the agency would announce a revised launch date soon.

Chandrayaan, the word for “moon craft” in Sanskrit, is designed for a soft landing on the lunar south pole and to send a rover to explore water deposits confirmed by a previous Indian space mission.

India, Spacecraft, Moon
FILE – Indian space scientist and Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization Kailasavadivoo Sivan speaks during a press conference at the ISRO headquarters Antariksh Bhavan, in Bangalore, June 12, 2019. VOA

With nuclear-armed India poised to become the world’s fifth-largest economy, the ardently nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is eager to show off the country’s prowess in security and technology. If India did manage the soft landing, it would be only the fourth to do so after the U.S., Russia and China.

Dr. K. Sivan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, said at a news conference last week that the estimated $140 million Chandrayaan-2 mission was the nation’s “most prestigious” to date, in part because of the technical complexities of soft landing on the lunar surface, an event he described as “15 terrifying minutes.”

After countdown commenced Sunday, Sivan visited two Hindu shrines to pray for the mission’s success.

Criticized program pays off

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Practically since its inception in 1962, India’s space program has been criticized as inappropriate for an overpopulated, developing nation.

But decades of space research have allowed India to develop satellite communications and remote sensing technologies that are helping solve everyday problems at home, from forecasting fish migration to predicting storms and floods.

With the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission this month, the world’s biggest space agencies are returning their gaze to the moon, seen as ideal testing grounds for technologies required for deep space exploration, and, with the confirmed discovery of water, as a possible pit stop along the way.

“The moon is sort of our backyard for training to go to Mars,” said Adam Steltzner, NASA’s chief engineer responsible for its 2020 mission to Mars.

India, Spacecraft, Moon
India aborted the launch Monday of a spacecraft intended to land on the far side of the moon less than an hour before liftoff. Pixabay

Seeking water on the moon

Because of repeated delays, India missed the chance to achieve the first soft landing near the lunar south pole. China’s Chang’e 4 mission landed a lander and rover there last January.

India’s Chandrayaan-1 mission orbited the moon in 2008 and helped confirm the presence of water. The Indian Space Research Organization wants its new mission’s rover to further probe the far side of the moon, where scientists believe a basin contains water-ice that could help humans do more than plant flags on future manned missions.

The U.S. is working to send a manned spacecraft to the moon’s south pole by 2024.

Also Read- Around 53% People Interested in Travelling to Space: Survey

Modi has set a deadline of 2022 for India’s first manned spaceflight. (VOA)