The signing of a pact between India and Afghanistan for building the $300-million Shatoot Dam on the Maidan river tributary of Kabul river took place recently.The project was held up for years after Pakistan expressed concerns over reduced water flow into its territory.
- The project is a part of the New Development Partnership between India and Afghanistan.
- The Lalander [Shatoot] Dam would meet the safe drinking water needs of Kabul City, provide irrigation water to nearby areas, rehabilitate the existing irrigation and drainage network, aid in flood protection and management efforts in the area, and also provide electricity to the region.
- Shatoot is the second major dam being built by India in Afghanistan, after the India- Afghanistan Friendship Dam [Salma Dam], which was inaugurated by the Prime Minister and the President in June 2016.
- The Shatoot dam is proposed to be built on Maidan River, a tributary of Kabul River which flows into Pakistan from Afghanistan.
- India will also launch the fourth phase of the High Impact Community Development Projects in Afghanistan, which envisages more than 100 projects worth $ 80 million (about Rs 600 crore) that India would undertake in Afghanistan.
- This is not likely to go down well with Pakistan and its new dispensation. Islamabad had reservations against all India-funded projects in the landlocked Afghanistan and claims that this dam will restrict the flow of water to Pakistan.
- India had earlier built the 202-km Phul-e-Khumri transmission line that provides electricity to large parts of Kabul city.
- Afghanistan’s growth has been constrained by its land-locked geography and India has made efforts to provide an alternate connectivity through Chabahar port and a dedicated air freight corridor between India and Afghanistan.
- India’s humanitarian assistance of 75,000 tonnes of wheat to strengthen food security of Afghanistan during the Covid pandemic has been transported through Chabahar port.
- Salma Dam, Herat Dam or Afghan-India Friendship Dam is special for many reasons. For one, the Salma Dam is the most expensive of India’s infrastructure projects in the region – at over $275 million. 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.
- The Rs 1,775 crore project took more than ten years to complete. The Salma Dam has been built by WAPCOS, an Indian “mini-ratna I”.
- Situated on the upper reaches of Hari Rud River in Herat province, Salma Dam project involved construction of a 107.5 meter high earth and rock–fill dam and a 42 MW power house with three units of 14 MW each.
- It also has a provision for releasing water for irrigation of 75,000 hectares of land. The reservoir water spreads about 20 km in length and 3.7 km in width.
- All equipment and material 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-Aghanistan border and then further 300 km by road from the border post to the site
About New Development Partnership:
India and Afghanistan agreed to enhance cooperation under the New Development Partnership in 2018 as part of which New Delhi had announced taking up 116 “high impact community developmental projects” in the war-torn country.