Lack of power irks Kandahar Industrialists

KANDAHAR CITY (SW) – Industrialists in Kandahar say lack of electricity and other hassles have led to suspension of operations at many units in the industrial parks here.

Officials at the Kandahar industrialists’ union say most of the province’s industrial park factories have been closed due to a lack of electricity, leaving thousands unemployed.

Faizaul Haq Meshkani, head of the Kandahar Industrialists’ Union, said there were about 350 factories in the province’s industrial park, of which 320 were closed due to a lack of electricity and only 30 were operating.

He added that industrialists and officials are working to solve the electricity problem, but so far no solution has been found for this problem. Meshkani said that about 4,000 people have lost their jobs due to the closure of these factories.

On the other hand, Hayatullah, the head of one of the affected industrial factories in Kandahar, says that the previous government did help provide electricity, but with the advent of the Islamic Emirate, the electricity is still cut off.

“Since the recent developments, the Islamic Emirate has not been able to solve this problem,” he added. “In the past, the government provided us with fuel that we could work with for 10 hours, and the rest of the hours we worked with fuel of our own. Now we work all day with private generators, which has greatly increased our costs.”

Meanwhile, Haji Nasrullah, head of another factory in Kandahar, said most of the factories had closed and that the operating ones had laid off 30 to 40 percent of their staff.

However, Mohammad Hanif Hamza, head of the power utility’s Kandahar branch, said that due to water shortages at the Kajaki Dam, electricity had been cut off as only one turbine was operating at the dam. He added that he has met with technical experts and they are trying to fully supply electricity to the factories.

“We now have 6 to 7 megawatts of electricity in Kandahar and another 33 megawatts from solar sources,” he said. “As water increases, so does electricity. We have talked to the manufacturers and promised them that we will solve their problems. We have also raised their voices with the officials in the center, and the center has promised to solve this problem.”