By Shadi Khan Saif
The Afghan government has inked a multi-million dollar electricity supply deal with an Indian firm that aims to connect more than 45 thousand families to the national grid in the energy-starved nation.
The project is funded by the Asian Development Bank, and it would cost $55.8 million dollars.
The deal was signed by representatives from the Indian firm Angelique International Limited (AIL) and the Afghanistan’s public sector power utility Da Afghanistan Breshna Shirkat (DABS).
The Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and ADB Country Director Thomas Panella were also present on the occasion at the Arg (Presidential palace).
As per the deal, the Indian firm would supply equipment, design, prepare and test electricity distribution networks for three provinces: Logar, Paktia and Khost in the southeast of the country.
Afghan officials estimate more than 45,000 families in these provinces would benefit from the project.
Qudratullah Delawari, the chief executive of Afghan power utility De Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat, said that the project will be completed by the end of 2018 simultaneously with the completion of 500kv power line from Turkmenistan.
Despite having immense potential for power generation, only 23 percent of electricity in Afghanistan is generated locally while 77 percent is imported from regional countries.
The Ministry of Water and Power (MoWP) in Afghanistan has announced plans to produce up to 2000 megawatts of electricity in the country with the cost of $5 billion by the year 2020.