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Farmers stage protest over cancellation of budget for 1,450 agricultural projects – Herat

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(Last Updated On: June 23, 2020)

Dozens of farmers rallied in front of a Herat governor’s office to protest on the cancellation of nearly 1,500 agricultural projects in the province.

The farmers accuse the central government of “double standards” over implementing development projects.

They claimed that although the implementation of 1,450 agricultural projects has been started in the province in the past one month, the budget for these projects yet to be approved.

Meanwhile, officials at the Herat Chamber of Agriculture and Finance say the cancellation of the projects will cause huge economic losses to farmers.

Najibullah Rahmati, deputy director of the chamber, said that in the current situation, farmers need serious government support.

On the other hand, officials from the Herat Department of Agriculture acknowledged that the construction of more than 1,000 raisins farms and 420 onion warehouses in various districts of the province has been suspended due to the rejection of the ministry’s budget by the House of Representatives.

The Herat local government confirms the problems raised by the protesting farmers, a spokesman for the governor of Herat insisted that the governor himself had met with the protesting farmers and promised to pursue their demands in Kabul.

The total number of projects to be implemented in the country’s various provinces was about 15,000, but the ministry’s budget and amendment plan were twice rejected by the House of Representatives. The projects which were done 30%, has been stopped.

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Gov’t approves four wind and solar power projects

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(Last Updated On: September 22, 2020)

The Afghan High Economic Council has approved four wind and solar power projects in Herat, Kabul and Balkh provinces.

Laima Khurram, director of public-private partnership policy at the Ministry of Finance, said the projects would cost an estimated $160 million.

“One of the wind power projects is in Herat with a capacity of 25 megawatts, another 40-megawatt solar power project is in Mazar, another 25-megawatt solar power plant is in Herat,” she said.

The projects are part of a public-private partnership between the government and the private sector.

This comes after last month’s agreement between the Afghan government and an Emirati company to generate 3,000 megawatts of solar power in Afghanistan. 

Afghanistan currently needs 2,000 megawatts of electricity to light homes and power the economy. However, it relies heavily on imported power from neighboring countries.

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Atmar addresses concerns of Afghans in Tajikistan

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(Last Updated On: September 19, 2020)

On a two-day official visit to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, acting foreign affairs minister Haneef Atmar met with a number of Afghan refugees, students and business owners at the Afghan Embassy on Friday evening where he discussed challenges they are facing. 

In a statement issued by foreign affairs on Saturday, the ministry said Atmar assured students and business owners that problems they have been dealing with – specifically due to COVID-19 – would be addressed as soon as possible. 

Easy border crossings for bilateral trade was also addressed and the embassy was instructed to assist refugees with problems they are facing, the statement read. 

Addressing Afghan students that attended the meeting, Atmar said it was important for them to return to their home country once they had completed their studies so as to help with the development of Afghanistan.

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Pakistan to set up markets along Afghanistan-Pakistan border

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(Last Updated On: September 18, 2020)

Pakistan has decided to establish 18 markets along the Pakistan-Iran and Pakistan-Afghanistan borders, Pakistan government said.

Pakistan’s government would establish the markets aimed at boosting trade with the two countries and preventing the menace of smuggling.

The decision was made during a high-level meeting chaired by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday, Khan’s office said in a statement.

“The meeting was told that twelve border markets will be established on the Pak-Afghan border while six border markets will be established on the Pak-Iran border,” the statement read.

“The Prime Minister has approved the establishment of two border market in Balochistan Province and one border market in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as a pilot project which will be completed and activated by February.”

Imran Khan’s Office noted that the decision to take more effective measures regarding the prevention of smuggling through borders

Talking about the establishment of border markets, the Prime Minister said that the establishment of markets where the population on border areas, especially youth, will get better business and trade opportunities, will come after fencing on the borders, the statement added.

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