Reaffirming India’s age old friendship ties with Afghanistan Union Minister for water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti has said that Afghan-India Friendship Dam is a living example of our mutual trust and cooperation. She was speaking at a ceremony held in New Delhi on Wednesday to felicitate the officials of WAPCOS Ltd. and Afghanistan who were involved in the successful construction of the dam. The Minister said this dam was constructed in very adverse conditions, both politically and climatically. Appreciating the dedication of WAPCOS officials and the Afghan technicians Sushri Bharti said “These brave men made the impossible task possible.” The Minister praised Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and said that the project could gain momentum during the last two years when Shri Modi became Prime Minister.
Speaking at the event as Chief guest, External Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj reaffirmed India’s continued support to Afghanistan saying the country will stand like a rock with Afghanistan. “We want to convey this to the people of Afghanistan through Osmani Sahab (Afghan Minister) that India will stand like a rock with them. We are committed to your economic prosperity and security”. she said.” The Minister further added that the dam was built in very difficult and hostile conditions by WAPCOS Ltd., a public sector undertaking under the Water Resources Ministry, even as Indian nationals were attacked in Afghanistan.
Lauding the efforts of WAPCOS, the Energy and Water Minister of Afghanistan Eng. Ali Ahmad Osmani said it was a step forward towards increasing friendship with India. He urged other countries to take note of ‘Indian Government’s cooperation model’. Mr. Osmani said India was the first country to assist Afghanistan in dam and energy projects and expressed the hope that the cooperation continues. “Our friendship proves that terrorism cannot stop development” Mr. Osmani added.
A short film about the awe inspiring story of the building of the Afghan-India Friendship Dam was shown on the occasion. It was followed by the release of two books i.e. “A Dream Come True” a commemorative book that essays the vital role played by WAPCOS in the construction and commissioning of the Dam and “Reservoir of Goodwill”, a compilation of print and social media reports on events connected with the construction and inauguration of the Afghan – India Friendship Dam.
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and President of Afghanistan Dr. Ashraf Ghani jointly inaugurated the Afghan-India Friendship Dam (Salma Dam) at Chist-e-Sharif in Herat province of Western Afghanistan . 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 such as fisheries, tourism and groundwater recharge to the people of Afghanistan. Salma Dam is a landmark infrastructure project undertaken by Government of India on river Harirud, in Herat province of Afghanistan. The project was 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 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 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. Cement, steel reinforcement, explosives etc. were imported to Afghanistan from neighboring countries. The height of the Dam is 104.3 Mt, length 540 Mt and width at the bottom is 450 Mt. The dam has a gross storage capacity of 633 million cubic meters.
Rs.1750 crore project was funded by Government of India and took more than ten years to complete. 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.