THE GOVERMENT of Tajikistan announced at the end of July that it was to boost funding for the state rail network. TJD will be awarded an additional 600000 somonis for development this year, and 11·3m to pay off debts owed to neighbouring Uzbekistan Railways, which currently provides the only links between the three isolated sections of the Tadzhik network. Deputy Prime Minister Fariddum Muhiddinov has been appointed to co-ordinate improvements to the rail network, working with the ministries of Transport, Finance and Economy & Trade.

Deputy Transport Minister Abdurahmon Rasulov announced on August 7 that the government had authorised the start of planning for a new line linking the capital Dushanbe with Gharm and Dzhirgatal in the upper Vakhsh valley. This would eventually be extended across the Algy Mountains to Kyrgyzstan, providing a second international link. Construction is expected to get under way in the next few years.

Work began in 1994 on a 132 km route in the southern Khatlon region, linking the city of Qürghonteppa (formerly Kurgan-Tube) with Külob. Another new route now nearing completion runs north from Qürghonteppa along the Vakhsh valley to Yovon. The Ministry of Economy & Trade has been asked to work with the National Bank to look at funding options for a link from Yovon to Kofarnikon near Dushanbe.

In the north, plans are being drawn up for electrification of the isolated east-west corridor between Bekobod and Konibodom. This forms the main transit link between central Uzbekistan and the Ferghana valley. Electrification of the Havast - Bekobod line was started under Soviet auspices in the 1980s.