FEATURE STORY

Newly Paved Road Smoothens Access for Local Population in Kandahar Province

June 22, 2016

Image

Farmers from the villages on both sides of this road now take their produce to the market on time and without any damage. 

Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/World Bank

Story Highlights
  • Over 30,000 people are enjoying quicker access to schools, markets, and health care through a recently paved road connecting their villages to the center of Kandahar city.
  • This and many other newly asphalted roads in Kandahar Province have been carried out under the Afghanistan Rural Access Project, implemented by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development and Ministry of Public Works.
  • The project aims to improve access of rural communities to essential services and facilities by constructing all-weather roads. It is supported by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries, and the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF).

DAMAN DISTRICT, Kandahar Province – It is midday in Ghra village and farmers are leaving their farm for their homes. Eleventh grader Jamil Ahmad, 19, has just returned home from school on his motorcycle.

Not too long ago, Jamil had to walk the long way to school on a dusty, unpaved road. “Ever since the road in our village was paved, I started riding my motorcycle to school,” he says gladly. “In the past I had to walk to school, which was a long way and I was usually late to class. The dust on the way was also annoying. I am on time now and there is no dust to bother me.”

The newly asphalted road runs through Ghra village in Daman district, located in the southern part of Kandahar city. The 10-kilometer long Ghra Road also passes through Haji Mohammad Shah village and Zaaker Sharif village in Dand district, connecting all three villages to Kandahar city center via Spin Boldak highway. Spin Boldak highway connects Kandahar city, the provincial capital, to the neighboring country of Pakistan.

Asphalting Ghra Road has brought many essential facilities to the people living on both sides of the road by providing quick access to services and markets in Kandahar city center. Previously, road conditions were either muddy in the winter or dusty in the summer, causing great difficulties in transporting people and goods.

“Before the road was built, we had to sell our grapes, pomegranate, watermelon, and eggplants at lower prices in the market because the road was bumpy and our products would get damaged on the way,” says Haji Peer Mohammad, 53, an elder from the area. “Farmers from the villages on both sides of this road now take their produce to the market on time and without any damage. They are able to sell them at reasonable prices.”

As a result, farmers like Rahmatullah, 50, a resident of Haji Mohammad village, earn twice as much from selling fruits and other produce from his farm and orchard. 


Image

The project has paved over 250  kilometers of roads across the country including several kilometers of roads in Kandahar province, connecting Panjwayi, Daman, Arghandab, and Dand districts to Kandahar city.

Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/World Bank

" Farmers from the villages on both sides of this road now take their produce to the market on time and without any damage. They are able to sell them at reasonable prices.  "

Haji Peer Mohammad

53, village elder

Image

Previously, road conditions were either muddy in the winter or dusty in the summer, causing great difficulties in transportation.

Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/World Bank

Quick access to essential services

Some 30,000 people benefit from having the all-weather road, which was completed in January 2015. The construction of Ghra Road was carried out under the Afghanistan Rural Access Project (ARAP), implemented by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) The project aims to benefit rural communities across Afghanistan by improving access to basic services and facilities through all-weather roads. Supported by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries, and Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), ARAP is a follow-on project of the National Emergency Rural Access Program (NERAP).

The project is expected to increase the number of people living within 2 kilometers of all-weather roads, reduce travel time to essential services, and enable rural communities to access essential services more frequently. It has paved over 250  kilometers of roads across the country including several kilometers of roads in Kandahar province, connecting Panjwayi, Daman, Arghandab, and Dand districts to Kandahar city.

The asphalted Ghra Road has also made it easier for villagers to access healthcare services. “In the past it took us as long as an hour to take our patients to a health center. If the patient was in a serious condition, then it was a high risk,” says Ghra village resident Haji Mohammad Wali, 80. “Now it only takes us 10 minutes to reach the health center.”

Since Ghra Road was built, transportation fares have reduced in the three villages, saving residents both time and money. “We used to pay 1,000 afghanis to go to Kandahar city. Now we only pay 300 afghanis,” says another villager, Haji Abdullah, 54. “Cars now consume only two liters of fuel instead of five on that trip.”

Engineer Fazel Omar, ARAP coordinator for Kandahar zone, points out that asphalting the road has provided an alternative way to reach Kandahar Airport. “Whenever Kandahar-Spin Boldak highway gets blocked, people can take Ghra Road to reach Kandahar Airport,” he says.