Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday jointly inaugurated the Salma Dam (Herat Dam) along with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani. The Salma Dam, also known as the Afghan-India Friendship Dam, has been built by WAPCOS, an Indian “mini-ratna I”.
Situated on the upper reaches of Hari Rud River in Herat province, Salma Dam project involved construction of a 107.5 meter high earth and rock–fill dam and a 42 MW power house with three units of 14 MW each. It also has a provision for releasing water for irrigation of 75,000 hectares of land.
The reservoir water spreads about 20 km in length and 3.7 km in width. The gross capacity of the Dam is 633 million m3. The height of the Dam is 104.3 Mt, length 540 Mt and width at the bottom is 450 Mt.
At over $275 million, this is the most expensive of India’s infrastructure projects in the region.
The availability of power and water through the project will lead to the overall economic development of the western region of Afghanistan. It will address the energy requirements and irrigation needs of western Afghanistan.
The project is located 165 km east of Herat town and connected with earthen road. Due to security reasons Indian engineers and technicians involved with the project have been reaching the site once in a month by helicopter service provided by Government of Afghanistan.
All equipment and material were transported from India to Bander-e-Abbas port of Iran via sea and then along 1200 km by road from there to Islam Kila border post at Iran-Aghanistan border and then further 300 km by road from the border post to the site. Cement, steel reinforcement, explosives etc. were imported to Afghanistan from neighboring countries.
Ahead of the inauguration, PM Modi tweeted, “Tomorrow I will visit Afghanistan, where I will join the inauguration of Afghanistan-India Friendship Dam in Herat.” “Looking forward to meeting President @ashrafghani & discussing India-Afghanistan ties, during my Afghanistan visit. @ARG_AFG,” he said.