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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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I Fall in Love with India Every Time I Return Here: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

On Friday, Goyal clarified that government welcomes all kinds of investments into the country which are within the ambit of the law

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amazon, jeff bezos
Amazon.in arrived in India on June 5, 2013 and for world's top billionaire Jeff Bezos, has transformed the way the country buys and sells. VOA

Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos on Friday posted a note on the company’s e-commerce website Amazon India, saying “he falls in love with India every time he returns here”, a day after Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal snubbed him during a public event.

“I fall in love with India every time I return here. The boundless energy, innovation and grit of the Indian people always inspire me,” Bezos wrote in the letter while mentioning Amazon’s investment in the Indian economy and that the firm is aiming to create 10 lakh new jobs by 2025.

Bezos, in the letter, added that more than 550,000 small and medium businesses (SMBs) in India are using Amazon as a platform to offer millions of products.

The new expected jobs are on top of the 700,000 jobs Amazon has already created in the country since 2013.

Amazon, drones
In this Sept. 13, 2018, file photo Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, speaks at The Economic Club of Washington’s Milestone Celebration in Washington. VOA

On Thursday, Goyal not only ticked off Bezos saying that they are not doing India a favour by investing a billion dollars, but also raised concerns if its losses were a result of predatory pricing and if Amazon and Flipkart were gaining entry into multi-brand retail by using loopholes.

Also Read: Tech Giant Apple Solves Location Privacy Issue with iPhone 11 in 2nd iOS 13.3.1 Beta

On Friday, Goyal clarified that government welcomes all kinds of investments into the country which are within the ambit of the law.

“We welcome all kinds of investments that follow the letter and spirit of the law. If some investment is outside the legal purview, appropriate action will be taken,” he told reporters. (IANS)