A project with 40 years uncertainty

When we travel on Herat-Islam Qala highway, we see the remnants of a very beautiful and different building at a distance of 4-5 km. some people who don’t know what is this building, may think on its difference with other buildings everywhere in Afghanistan.
That construction is the building of Herat Cement Factory, enough big, modern, fortified and magnificent. But since 40 years has been waiting a government or rulers who would put an end to this long waiting.
From this road, every day hundreds long vehicles and trucks travel which are loaded with Iranian cement imported in Afghanistan, a cement that is not only low quality but leads great capital of Afghan people outside the country.
When we approach this building, we can see clear signs of indifference and gradual death on its external and internal parts in the last four decades, a project that could bring enough bread to the table cloth of million Afghans but unfortunately now its building is being devastating.
Only few people may have not heard the name of Herat Cement Project, a project that is usually reminded by politicians during every presidential or parliamentary election and shortly afterwards is forgotten. In the last 18 years presidential candidates, ex-president Hamid Karzai, current president Ashraf Ghani and CE of NUG Abdullah promised to rebuild and activate this project simultaneous with electoral campaigns. Almost majority of parliamentary candidates during their campaigns talk on efforts for reconstruction of this factory but despite of all these, the project is still in uncertainty.
According to Herat local authorities since late 50s worth millions Afghani equipments of this project have been pillaged by robbers and armedmen and the rest have been devastated and out of use due to lack of serious maintenance.
41 years earlier during the rule of late Sardar Mohammad Daoud Khan Republican regime, the construction of this great cement project was started and completed 80pc. But with erupting of wars it was stopped. Construction of this project was agreed on a cost of US$50m with the then Czechoslovakia with 40pc share of Afghanistan.
18 years after collapse of Taliban, despite of investment of multi-million dollars, one of our biggest economic infrastructural projects has been uncertain.
Herat economists believe that in case of rehabilitation, this factory would have the annual production capacity of 500000 tonnes cement while the annual demand of Afghan domestic market is 700000 tonnes.
Shahir Feroten an economist said, beside production of high quality cement, this project would create employment opportunities for over 2000 people and prevents exit of multi-million dollars from Afghanistan. At present, Iranian and Pakistan cements are used for construction purposes. Prior to this, Afghan geologists had announced that Herat cement mine contains all essential raw materials for production of cement that extends from Pul-e-Hashimi in west of Herat to Doshakh mountains in south west of this province. This project has the producing capability of 7000 tonnes cement per day.
The Kabul Times

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