Mazar-i-Sharif (PAN): Infrastructure in the Balkh Province has been developed to great extent during the last few years with the implementation of multiple health, education, agriculture projects, and urban development.
Balkh Governor’s Spokesperson Munir Farhad told Pajhwok Afghan News his province witnessed tremendous achievements in terms of rehabilitation and implementation of development projects during the last two years.
Farhad says: “During the last two years, the Education Ministry has built 100 buildings for primary, high, and secondary schools both in centre and districts financed by the Sweden and German governments.
Tens kilometers of roads have been paved, he said, adding that the municipality helped paved 60- kilometers road in Mazar-i-Sharif city and a number of roads in other districts as well. He went on to say that 145- kilometers road connecting Balkh with the Dar-i-Soof District of Samangan Province has also been paved.
Going into greater details, Farhad said that following on insistence of traders, the construction of 15- cross roads known as Alkozai, Kamgar, Kamal Nabizada, Muhib, and Kabul Bank squares contributed to the beauty of the city.
Following financial support extended by the German Government, big development projects have been initiated and the aid helped completion of 400- bed hospital in the Mazar city. The Mazar hospital is equipped with modern medical equipments and treatment. The government of Japan has held out promises to contribute generously another $16 million’s medical equipments to enhance the facilities of the hospital.
Referring to another big project in Mazar-i-sharif, Farhad said that hectic work on the construction on the terminal and the runway of airport is underway. The long runway---35m wide and 3, 500m long--- is financed by Germany while the terminal has been recently opened following financial support by Germany and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Balkh Governor Atta Mohammad Noor while inaugurating the terminal said that the it costs 60m Euros of which 48 million has been disbursed by Germany while the rest 12 million by the UAE.  Noor said that the terminal has the capacity of 1,000 passengers in a day and 400, 000 in a year. 
Farhad however, said that 79 kilometers railroad connecting Hairatan port with the airport has been built with the financial support of Asian Development Bank (ADB) that opens multidimensional facilities for Balkh traders.
Farhad informed that during the last three years, there have been considerable development in agriculture sector saying that more than hundred water management big and small projects have been completed in centre and districts. He noted that the Samarqand Dam in Balkh District built with the financial support of the ADB helped cultivate 15 acres of orchards and farms land. 
Katib Shams, Balkh agriculture department head told Pajwhok Afghan News that since two years, there have been considerable improvements in saffron cultivation in Balkh province, adding that now the growers could easily find its seeds in the province. He expressed optimism that more improvement of saffron cultivation could be achieved through association in the province
Provincial Rural Rehabilitation officials said that soon after the completion of first round of National Solidarity Program (NSP), the second round has been kicked off. Basit Aini, rural rehabilitation department head said that the second round would cover 704 villages in 11 districts. School buildings, paving of roads, access to potable water, and building for social councils and health clinics would be part of the second round. He went on to say that the second round would take two years where $27 million would be spent on rehabilitation projects. Aini informed that so far they have completed 1968 development projects benefiting over one million people.     
Balkh provincial authorities consider the rehabilitation in the province as unique, but residents and local authorities in a number of districts say that more attention is paid to the centre rather than districts. Najibullah, Cheharbolak District resident told Pajhwok Afghan News that they are not satisfied regarding the rehabilitation the way the authorities’ claim of its success. He said that presence of Taliban affected rehabilitation in that province for years. “If the government has to address their 50 percent problems then that could help bolster government’s trust among the residents who don’t have access even to basic needs of life,” he added.
Cheharbolak District Head Zabihullah said that due to bad reputation of the outgoing district heads, nothing has been done to develop health, education, and agriculture sectors in the district. He said that that farmer face absence of irrigation water, adding that there are 120 villages in the district with only 7 health clinics that cannot provide even basic health services to the people. He complained that the education sector is not satisfactory, urging the government to focus more on the education to promote that vital sector in large interests of the people.
Zabihullah said that there are 40 schools in the district while 25 of the educational facilities have no buildings. He said that there is dire need for the government to address problems being faced by the people, which would help bridge the widened gap between the authorities and masses.