China-funded project brings 'Water for Life' in Afghanistan

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As millions of families celebrate traditional lunar New Year in China, Chinese workers continue their work on a China-funded irrigation project in Parwan province, Afghanistan, hoping they could bring the much- needed "water for life" to local people on schedule.

"Many people are celebrating New Year back in China." Wang Jiamo, 46, told Xinhua at the construction site. "Every Chinese worker here misses home. But we are on a tight schedule. In order to get home and enjoy family reunion as soon as possible, we must speed up the work."

The irrigation project, currently under construction by China's Jiangxi Water and Hydropower Construction Company, intends to build a vortex circulation pool for water-desilting purpose, making it easier for local residents to acquire clean water for farming and ordinary life.

"The completion of Parwan irrigation canal would enable us to irrigate our vineyards and farmland properly and eventually increase our income," said 45-year-old Hamidullah Khan, a native of Parwan province noted for vineyards.

"Our good neighbor China helps us to improve our living condition and increase our income by launching this project," he added.

The Chinese-initiated project would irrigate thousands of hectares of farmland in Parwan and neighboring Kapisa and Kabul provinces, said local people.

However, recent heavy snowfalls in northern Afghanistan have added to the challenges Chinese workers face at the project, hindering the construction process.

"The recent snowfalls have affected the scheduled process," said Feng Shiming, 28, the only unmarried Chinese worker at the camp. "But we will double our efforts and try to catch up with the schedule, finish this aid project as soon as possible."

"The project in Parwan is a water canal project, built by China as aid to Afghanistan in the 1970s and its reconstruction began in 2004 and would be completed by May 2012," Fu Guoliang, manager of the project, told Xinhua.

"In 2009, our company got the permission from Chinese government to undertake this project, the Parwan project. By August 2009, we have completed the preliminary preparation efforts. However, the land acquisition problem in Afghanistan was not settled until November 2011. With the construction started two months ago, we plan to finish this project on May 30, 2012," Fu added.

"I have a friend working as the leader of Afghan workers at the irrigation project. Chinese people are very good." said Minawall, a local resident who spoke highly of the cooperation between Chinese company and local workers. "This Chinese company is better than 95 percent other foreign companies operating in Parwan province."

China's economic assistance to Afghanistan dated back to the 1950s when the two countries formed diplomatic ties. Since 2002, China has contributed some 200 million U.S. dollars to the post- Taliban Afghanistan. It launched many major projects to help Afghanistan with its post-war reconstruction, ranging from the construction of hospitals, government office buildings, schools and educational institutions.

"This project has brought numerous benefits to local people, even people from Bagram and Qarabagh can benefit from it," said Hamibullah. "It also brings us many job opportunities. Many of my friends are working at the site."

"For our life and economy, nothing is more important than water, China is our good neighbor and good friend. By building this canal, Chinese friends brought us 'water for life'", Hamidullah added.

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