Dushanbe, 15 March: The construction of a bridge across the river Panj to Afghanistan has been started in the Tem microdistrict in Khorugh [in Tajikistan's eastern Mountainous Badakhshon Autonomous Region, MBAR].
The head of road building department No 8, Usmon Yormamadov, told Asia-Plus that the construction project had been submitted by the Rahkinkraft [transliterated] production association. The project costs 385,000 dollars, which have been allocated by the AgaKhan foundation's MSDSP [the Mountain Societies Development and Support Programme]. The bridge will be 135 metres long, 3.5 metres wide and have a load-bearing capacity of 25 tonnes.
Yormamadov said: "This is the first post-Soviet large-scale construction that we have been tasked with. It will improve our financial and economic situation to some extent."
The MSDSP manager, Sheroz Abdulloyev, told Asia-Plus that the construction of the bridge had started in keeping with a tripartite agreement between the Tajik and Afghan governments and the AgaKhan foundation.
"This is one of five planned bridges across the Panj river to Afghanistan. The aim of building them is to create more favourable conditions for constructing social facilities in Afghanistan's northern provinces," Abdulloyev said.
Another four bridges are scheduled to be built in Darvoz, Vanj and Ishkoshim districts in the MBAR.
Source: Asia-Plus news agency, Dushanbe, in Russian 1000 gmt 15 Mar 02
/BBC Monitoring/ (c) BBC.