$10 million needed for full completion of the Istiqlol Tunnel, says Tajik minister

21/10/2015 15:14
Avaz Yuldoshev
Views: 10353

DUSHANBE, October 21, 2015, Asia-Plus -- 10 million U.S. dollars are needed for the full completion of the Istiqlol Tunnel, Tajik Minister of Transport Sherali Ganjalzoda announced at a sitting of the second session of the Majlisi Namoyandagon of the fifth convocation on October 21.

“To-date, more than 61 million U.S. dollars have been spent for construction of this tunnel, including 10 million U.S. dollars that had been spent for the tunnel during the Soviet era,” the minister said.

According to him, it remains to solve problems connected with ventilation, lighting, fire safety system and installation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras.

Deputies of the Majlisi Namoyandagon unanimously voted for ratification of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the governments of Tajikistan and Iran on continuation of reconstruction of the Istiqlol Tunnel in Tajikistan.

The Istiqlol Tunnel, better known among the population as the Anzob Tunnel, has been built with assistance of Iranian specialists.  Iran’s Saber International has constructed the Istiqlol Tunnel.

The total project cost was estimated at 40 million US dollars, and Iran has provided US$10 million in a form of grant and extended a preferential loan worth US$21 million to Tajikistan.

The Istiqlol Tunnel is a five kilometer long tunnel located 80 kilometers northwest of Dushanbe.  It connects the Tajik capital to Tajikistan’s second largest city, Khujand.  It is also a transit route between Dushanbe and Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent.  Previously, especially during the cold seasons, a lack of a direct link between northern and southern Tajikistan led to disruptions of commerce.  The tunnel makes the highway from Dushanbe to Khujand open for traffic the whole year round and drops the transit time by four to five hours.

An official opening ceremony of the Istiqlol Tunnel was held in July 2007; however, some works have remained unfinished.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the governments of Tajikistan and Iran on completion of the Istiqlol Tunnel that was endorsed by the Tajik parliament in April 2013 provides for allocation of additional 6 million U.S. dollars.  This amount includes a US$3 million grant provided by the Government of Iran and US$3 million provided by the Government of Tajikistan.

In July this year, Tajikistan and Iran signed one more memorandum of understanding on cooperation on completion of the Istiqlol Tunnel.  The document was inked by Tajik Ambassador to Iran Nematullo Emomzoda and Iranian Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian in Tehran on July 7.

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