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Some public reps meddle in Balkh govt affairs: official

MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): The provincial government in northern Balkh province on Monday said except the judiciary, people’s complaints against other provincial departments equaled to nothing.
But the provincial council head said bad governance prevailed in the education, security and public health sectors.
In an interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, the gubernatorial spokesman, Munir Farhad, said the province had made “memorable achievements” last solar year that ends on March 21.
He dubbed as unparalleled the overall revenue generated in Balkh when compared to other provinces having dry ports.
However, he said rumours about the end of 2014, when foreign troops were to leave Afghanistan, and the same year a protracted political impasse resulting from the disputed presidential election led to a 30 percent decline in Balkh overall revenue.
That year, Farhad said imports and exports at the Hairatan dry port fell by 50 percent, but still the province contributed more than seven billion afghanis in income to the national exchequer.
The spokesman mentioned some achievements made in the education sector last solar year and acknowledged some problems in this regard in remote areas.
Three days ago, the provincial council chief, Mohammad Ibrahim Khair Andesh, told Pajhwok Afghan News the government departments in Balkh had become politicised.
Elaborating, the public representative said politicians and their supporters influenced all appointments, transfers, postings and other affairs of the provincial departments.
He had said the provincial education department faced the same problems. According to him, there were individuals who served as headmasters in schools despite the fact they could not perform duty as ordinary teachers.
But Farhad said most lawmakers interfered in government affairs in order to please their supporters and rejected the presence of individuals mentioned by Andesh at schools in Mazar-i-Sharif.
He said professional teachers were reluctant to perform duty in remote areas against meager salaries.
Farhad said buildings were constructed for 24 schools including nine high schools last year, when several reconstruction projects were executed.
In various areas of Balkh, 400 fruit orchards were established and 40 cold storages for agricultural products were constructed last solar year, according to Farhad.
He said 20 kilometres of roads were rehabilitated inside Mazar-i-Sharif with funds from the municipality department and another 26 km with funds from the Public Works Department.
A three-star hotel was being built on international standard by the municipality department in Mazar-i-Sharif and 95 percent work on the hotel had been completed, he said.
Farhad rejected the provincial council chief’s allegation that police in some parts of the city were involved in illegal activities. He praised police for strengthening security in the provincial capital by maintaining close liaison with the people.
However, he said it could not be ruled out that some police officials, not all, resorted to illegal acts to achieve their personal gains.
He acknowledged a police officer was recently arrested and jailed for his involvement in car-lifting incidents.
As compared to other provinces, he said, the overall situation in Balkh concerning security, reconstruction, governance and other affairs was unparalleled.
He also spurned Andesh’s allegations against the public health department, but admitted to intermittent complaints from people about the affairs at the civil hospital.

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