Traders, drivers lament bad condition of Maimana-Herat road

MAIMANA (Pajhwok): Traders and cargo truck drivers in northwestern Faryab province complain about the poor condition of Maimana-Herat ring road, saying they face huge difficulties while commuting on the 420 kilometers long route.

They say the Afghans long wished construction of the road that could facilitate transportation of goods from Iran and western region at lower costs.

However, they say that the route was left unconstructed in the past two decades despite flow of billions of dollars into the country.

Contract for construction of Qaisar-Laman highway, which is 233 kilometers long, was signed with an American-Turkish company in 2011 against $400 million under the leadership of former President Hamid Karzai.

The project was expected to start in 2012, but the company named ECCI METAG JV escaped after receiving 21 percent of the fund, an issue that forced the Afghan government to complain to several international courts.

Abdul Rahman, a food wholesaler in Maimana, capital of Faryab province, told Pajhwok Afghan News, “I import 80 percent of food stuff from Herat, but in rainy seasons when roads are in very bad condition, the transport cost of each seven kilograms of a good reaches from 40 to 50 afghanis, it takes from 10 to 15 days for a cargo truck to arrive from Herat to Maimana.”

He said trucks overturned on the highway during rainy seasons and goods were spoiled or damaged to no use, which he said was the reason that forced traders to increase goods’ prices to compensate their losses.

“For the last 20 years, the government has repeatedly said that an agreement has been reached to build the ring road and practical work will start soon; but the promises have never been fulfilled. The previous government used war and insecurity as an excuse, but now there is no war and the government of the Islamic Emirate should immediately start construction of Maimana-Herat highway,” he said.

Mohammad Humayun, another trader in Maimana city, said that the highway from Maimana to Herat was 420 kilometers long.

He said that the road was in very poor condition which was the reason that the transport of each kilogram of a good costs from 10 to 15 afghanis to reach from Herat to Maimana city.

He added that traders lose at least 20 percent of their goods due to trucks overturn, for what traders increase goods’ rates to compensate their losses.

Humayon said that if the current government started and completed the construction of the ring road, it would be a great service  to the Afghan people.

KhalifaSardar, a driver of a truck, says the road from Qala-i-Naw, the capital of Badghis, to Ghormach district of the province was in very bad condition.

He said that it takes 11 days without rainfalls for him to reach from Herat to Maimana city.

“Driving on the road is tiring, there are a lot of troubles; sometimes the vehicle breaks down or overturns, traders’ property is damaged and then we have to compensate. The money does not cover the cost of fuel, vehicle maintenance and driver’s salary. I would not have spent an hour to drive on Herat-Maimana road if I had not been obliged to support my family,” he said.

He also called on the new government to take immediate steps to asphalt Herat-Maimana road to address the problems of the people.

A number of other drivers made similar complaints and said that they drive most of the route in people’s farm fields due to absence of a specific and asphalted road.

They say that bad road condition had caused many problems for them including damaging their vehicles, high fuel consumption, high cost of goods and others.

Mehdi Rohani, a spokesman for the previous government’s Ministry of Public Works, in March 2016 had said that the Afghan government had launched an international lawsuit against the fraud of the company.

“The contract for the construction of Qaisar-Laman road was signed several years ago with an American-Turkish company, which received a few percent of its budget under the National Procurement Law, but the company failed to implement the project and escaped,” he said.

“Under the framework of the Ministry of Public Works and the government of Afghanistan, we have launched an international legal claim and several decrees have been made; the final judgment will be issued in Singapore and it will be in favor of Afghanistan,” he had said.


Hits: 8