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The Killid Group
Kunar PRT bridges collapseWritten by Jamshed Malakzai
Saturday, 10 March 2012 10:54
Three out of seven bridges built in 2008 with the financial support of the provincial rehabilitation team (PRT) in Kunar province have been washed away.
Seven bridges were constructed over the Kunar river. Poor quality work has destroyed Shaheed Fazal Haq bridge in Marawara district, Saow in Naray district and Barkashkoot in Shewa district. The remaining four bridges are also in poor condition, people in Kunar province complain.
Locals say provincial governor, Sayed Fazlullah Wahidi, had a share in the contracts. However, the governor's office has denied the charges.
The 125-metre Barkashkoot bridge was between Nangarhar and Kunar provinces. The cost of construction was 1.6 million USD, according to contractor Hassan Sardar. Since the bridge collapsed local farmers are unable to market their produce. Malik Zargul who is from Kunar province says vegetables are rotting in the fields because they cannot be transported to Jalalabad city.
The Shaheed Fazal Haq bridge was built four years ago by the Abi Stoory (Blue Star) construction company.
Nazirullah Mamoon, a tribal leader, says there was large-scale fraud in the building of the bridge. He accuses Abi Stoory officials of spending the money "improperly". He says a "small" flood destroyed the bridge last year.
Mamoon says the Shaheed Fazal Haq Bridge was contracted first to the governor who then subcontracted it to his friend Engineer Ghani, head of Abi Stoory.
But Engineer Ghani denies the charges. He says the funds allocated were insufficient, and they had informed the government authorities about it.
Engineer Ghani says, "When we contracted the project with Kunar Rural Rehabilitation and Development Department we immediately informed them through email that the budget was less and more money should be allocated." The 120-metre-long Shaheed Fazal Haq bridge was built at an estimated 825,000 USD.
Rahman Shah Sadat, a member of the Kunar provincial council, says the project was sub-contracted two and three times. He hinted the governor's office should have supervised the project.
Kunar Governor Wahidi says, "The Kunar PRT was working according to its own will. The PRT signed the contract with companies, which don't have good result."
Repeated efforts by Killid to get the views of the Kunar PRT were ignored.