Sarabi plans promoting tourism in Bamyan

BAMYAN CITY (PAN): Governor of central Bamyan province Habiba Surabi -- the only woman to hold this position in Afghanistan -- has described asphalting of roads and supply of electricity to thousands of families as her major achievements.Belonging to southern Ghazni province, she graduated from the Pharmacy Faculty of the Kabul University. For the past eight years, she has been serving as the governor of a province known worldwide for the huge Buddha statues.In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, Surabi said 150 kilometres of roads had been gravelled in the province. Of them, 100 km of roads were asphalted. She recalled there was no black-topped road in Bamyan before her takeover.She counted constructing buildings for a number of provincial government departments and giving people access to education and health services among her successes. Following are some of the excerpts from the interview:Q: What are your achievements as Bamyan governor?A: Despite the many challenges facing my government, I have been able to make achievements in different spheres. Importantly, I had Band-i-Amir declared a national park and enhanced people’s access to education, besides creating work opportunities for them.  In Bamyan, 135,000 students -- 45 percent of them girls -- are receiving education in 352 schools across the province. Under a programme called 2+1, each literate resident is required to educate 2 illiterate people every year.    Reforms have been introduced in provincial departments, whose employees are recruited and paid purely on merit. Additionally, my administration has implemented all rules regarding the protection of human rights, in line with the constitution. I have also provided my people access to information. Q: What are the important measures you have taken so far?A: We have created an open political and democratic environment, strengthened civil society and ensured transparency in all provincial affairs. Around 45 percent of girls are enrolled in schools.  Q: What are the hurdles to your endeavours to develop the province?A: delay in the release of funds is a huge problem, affecting the performance of her government. When funds are released on time, we could implement our development programmes in an effective fashion. Q: What are your future plans for the province?A: The development of the tourism sector is one of my key goals. It could ensure an enduring source of income for the people. I also plan infrastructure, power and road projects, in addition to promoting the private sector.  Q: What are the main projects planned by you and how many people benefitted from them?A: On the reconstruction front, a lot has been done in Bamyan as result of my personal efforts and cooperation from the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT). Q: What are your expectations from the government about improving the Bamyan security situation?A: The government should secure roads linking Bamyan with other provinces and the central capital. Armed insurgents should be flushed out from the Tala Wa Barfak district of Baghlan. mm/mud