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Indian cabinet okays cost hike for Afghan power project

New Delhi, June 10 (IANS) India will spend about Rs 800 crore (about $18 million) in a hydro power project in Herat province of western Afghanistan.

The Indian cabinet Thursday approved a cost escalation of over Rs.54 crore ($1.2 million) in the project, taking the total investment in it to over Rs.800 crore.

The approval was given in a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters, adding that the cost escalation for the Salma Dam project till December 2010 will be over Rs.54 crore.

The project is being executed in the Herat province of Afghanistan and is being funded by the Indian government under a scheme for reconstruction of the war-ravaged country.

The hydel power-cum-irrigation project is being executed by the Water and Power Consultancy Services (India) Limited (WAPCOS) under aid to Afghanistan, she said.

The successful completion of the project will lead to overall development of Afghanistan’s western regions and generate goodwill for India in Afghanistan, said Soni.

‘The project will also showcase Indian engineering and enhance India’s role as a major regional player,’ she said.

About 50 percent of the project’s work related to construction work, manufacturing of hydro mechanical and electro mechanical work, transmission work and infrastructure work have been completed.

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