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Kandahar PRT Assesses Shur Andam Industrial Park

KANDAHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan U.S. Army Sgt Michael Magnuson (Right) of Northampton, Mass. and U.S. Army Sgt. David Sterin (Left) of Boulder, Colo., members of the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team security force, lead members of the PRT through the Shur Andam Industrial Park in Kandahar City June 11. The PRT met with business leaders to assess the use of and need for electricity in the area. The PRT works with government and civic leaders at the district and provincial levels to improve infrastructure capacity in the province. (U.S. Air Force photo by Chief Master Sgt. Richard Simonsen) (Released)

Regional Command South
Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team
Story By: U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Richard Simonsen
PR# 2011-0613-01

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (June 14, 2011) –
Members of the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team visited the Shur Andam Industrial Park in Sub-District 5 June 11 to assess electricity availability and usage in the area.

The industrial park became partially electrified last winter. The PRT visited the area to see what economic impact the electricity has had on the businesses at the site.

“I would say in the last few months there has been serious economic benefits,” said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Bill Mallory, the commanding officer of the PRT from Chesapeake, Va. “The factories now have two to three times more workers and many have added an extra shift.”

The industrial park contains approximately 40 factories producing shoes, cotton, metal products, car parts, PVC pipe and other consumer goods.

Some areas in the industrial park are not yet connected to the electric grid. These businesses require on-site electric generators to power the heavy machinery at a cost of 10 to 30 Afghani per kilowatt hour or between 20 and 60 cents.

“As you know, electricity is needed for running factories,” said Fazilhaq Mushkani, the deputy director of the industrial park association that advocates for the business owners. “Our goal is to get electricity to all the factories so we can make cheaper products for the people and create more jobs.”

Amin Uhlah owns five buildings in the park, but can only operate one cardboard box making factory that employs 45 workers with his on-site diesel generator. “If I had more electricity I would open up all five factories with 100 employees each,” said Uhlah.

The area is serviced by a generator currently providing eight megawatts of electric power. The addition of a second generator expands that capacity to 16.5 megawatts. The businesses currently pay a subsidized rate of six Afghani or about 12 cents per kilowatt hour; this temporary rate affords the businesses an opportunity to get established before subsidies end.

It costs them two to five times more to generate the power themselves,” said Mallory. “Before they couldn’t compete with imported products from Pakistan, and now they can.”