Herat: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghanistan President Dr. Ashraf Ghani jointly launched the ‘Afghan-India Friendship Dam’, earlier known as the ‘Salma Dam’, here on Saturday.
Dedicating the dam to the people of Afghanistan, Prime Minister Modi said, “We are not just launching a project, we are reviving a region, renewing life, restoring hope and redefining Afghanistan’s future. This is yet another giant step in Afghanistan’s march to progress.”
“Afghans and Indians dreamt of this project in the 1970s. The lost decades speak to us about the ravages of a long drawn war. It was a war not of the Afghan making, but it was one that stole the future of an entire generation of Afghans. And, when a new dawn broke over Afghanistan in 2001, we resumed the project. With resolve and patience, courage and belief, we have together overcome distance and hurdles, threats and violence,” said the Prime Minister.
“Today, the brave Afghan people are sending a message that the forces of destruction and death, denial and domination, shall not prevail. They will not come in the way of the dreams and aspirations of the Afghan people,” he added.
Speaking on the occasion, President Ghani said, “Today, with your help, an old dream of our people (Afghan-India Friendship Dam, earlier Salma Dam) is realised after 40 years of waiting.
With the inauguration of the Afghan-India Friendship Dam, the first generation of large Indian assisted projects is completed. Our hope is to see at the right moment the launch of the second generation of such large and sustainable projects.”
“Today our people know India through Salma, a source of light and joy for 1000s of our families. In addition, India has completed over 200 other small and big projects for our people. With scholarship assistance by India, over 17,000 Afghan youth were able to acquire education,” he added.
The Afghan-India Friendship Dam is a multipurpose project planned for generating 42 MW of power, irrigating 75000 hectares of land, water supply and other benefits to the people of Afghanistan.
Salma Dam is a landmark infrastructure project undertaken by the Indian Government on river Chist-e-Sharif, in Herat province of Afghanistan.
The project is executed and implemented by WAPCOS Ltd., a Government of India Undertaking under ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
The project is located 165 kilometres 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 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-Afghanistan border and then further 300 km by road from the border post to the site.
The gross capacity of the dam is 633 Million M3. The height of the dam is 104.3 metre, length 540 metre and width at the bottom is 450 metre.