India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will embark on five-nation -Afghanistan, State of Qatar, Switzerland, United States of America and Mexico – visit beginning on Saturday, has said he is looking forward to visit Afghanistan, where he will join President Ashraf Ghani to inaugurate Afghanistan-India Friendship Dam in Herat.
“Looking forward to my visit to Afghanistan tomorrow. I will join President Ashraf Ghani to inaugurate Afghanistan-India Friendship Dam in Herat. It is symbol of our friendship and would usher in hope, light up homes, nourish the fertile fields of Herat and bring prosperity to the people of the region,” posted Prime Minister on Facebook.
“Look forward to meet my friend President Ashraf Ghani and exchange notes on regional situation and setting agenda for bilateral cooperation in the coming period,” he said in a series of Facebook post.
Salma Dam (Afghanistan-India Friendship Dam)
Salma Dam was originally constructed in 1976 on the Hari river basin, but wasdamaged early during the Civil war in Afghanistan. The reconstruction of the dam was first initiated by an Indian company (WAPCOS Ltd.) in 1988, but the project was left incomplete for a significant period of time due to the ongoing instability caused by the civil war. In 2006, India committed to funding the completion of the Salma Dam at an estimated cost of $275 million.
The multipurpose project, undertaken by Indian Government on river Chist-e-Sharif in the province concerned, is expected to irrigate 75,000 hectares of land and generate 42 megawatt of power, besides ensuring water supply and other benefits to local people.
Touted as a “landmark” infrastructure project, the dam is located 165 km east of Herat town and connected with earthen road.
Due to security reasons Indian engineers and technicians involved with the project have been reaching the site once in a month by helicopter service provided by Government of Afghanistan.
All the equipment and material required for the dam work were transported from India to Bander-e-Abbas port of Iran via sea and then along 1200 km by road from there to Islam Kila border post at Iran-Afghanistan border and then further 300 km by road from the border post to the site.
Cement, steel reinforcement, explosives etc were imported to Afghanistan from neighboring countries. The gross capacity of the Dam is 633 Million M3. The height of the Dam is 104.3 Mt, length 540 Mt and width at the bottom is 450 Mt .
Funded by Indian Government, the successful completion of the project represents culmination of years of hard work by 1,500 Indian and Afghan engineers and other professionals in “very difficult” conditions.