Mohammad Hanif Hashimi, Nangarhar Provincial coordinator
With a growing population and urban expansion in the city of Jalalabad, the need to build a new wide road connecting the provincial center with Pul-i-Farm was widely felt. Beside the old two-way lane, the new road is expected to minimize the traffic load.
The budget (with the additional costs added to it after monitoring) of $24,000 came from Jalalabad Municipality. The area was cleared off from the vendors and shops on both sides to start work on the 560 meters long road. Everything was set to start the construction.
However, during the early construction phase, local community noticed that the width of the road was being built 4 meters (without pedestrian sidewalks) instead of seven meters as per plans. Additionally, people also noticed that there was no adequate machinery required for construction, the workers were not professional, and the engineers were not present at the site. On top of all this, the construction company was not willing to share the contract with the local community.
After noticing the above-mentioned irregularities, local monitors wanted to share the issues with the regional engineer but found he was not on his duty. Because Jalalabad municipality was the project funder, provincial coordinator of Integrity Watch Afghanistan along with the local monitors discussed the issue and requested information on the project but to no avail. But it did not hang in there, Integrity Watch sent formal letters to related departments explaining the issue at hand. But even then nothing changed for better. The misconduct continued.
Finally, Integrity Watch, together with the local community representatives, organized a large sectorial monitoring group meeting inviting the government and the construction company. After lengthy discussions and arguments from all sides, the construction company agreed to the terms suggested by the group. Project documents were made available for the local monitors and width of the road increased to 8 meters with additional two-meter pedestrian sidewalks.