Insecurity, fund paucity hit Ghazni projects
20 March, 2013
KABUL: Two senior officials on Tuesday informed the Meshrano Jirga that insecurity, lack of funds and fewer construction firms stymied certain projects in southern Ghazni province.
The projects are part of government's efforts to prepare Ghazni City, the provincial capital, to serve as Asian capital of the Islamic civilisation in 2013.
In 2007, the ancient city was selected at a conference held in Tripoli to serve as the capital of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO).
Last year, a Senate delegation that visited Ghazni to assess the progress of renovation work and revival of the city's cultural heritage said in its report most historical monuments had been rebuilt by the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), but the government was yet to do anything.
The delegation estimated that at least $50 million (2.5 billion afs) were needed to make the province a major cultural centre. But only id="mce_marker"7 million have been pledged by the government so far.
Of the 30 monuments, supposed to be renovated ahead of 2013, only 10 had been rebuilt over the past four years, the report said.
It acknowledged that local officials and residents were suffering from two setbacks — the finance ministry's failure to transfer money in time and occupation of Islamic Cultural Centre by the Afghan army.
On Tuesday, the upper house summoned Information and Culture Minister Syed Makhdoom Rahin and Senior Adviser to President on Construction, Mines, Water & Energy Yousaf Pakhtun to brief lawmakers on the projects.
Pakhtun said there were a total of 250 archaeological sites, but project officials had agreed to complete the renovation of only 50. He added only 30 of the 50 sites had been renovated so far and the rest were in different stages of completion. He said 90 percent wok on a 100 kilometre road had been completed while other schemes, including a canalisation system, repair of the airport, a huge building for the Islamic Civilisation Centre and others were passing through initial stages of their completion.
Pakhtun, also a member of the Afghan Association of Architects and Engineers, said all required projects could not be completed in time because they had not been able to win enough funds from Islamic countries — mainly due to increasing insecurity.