DUSHANBE:-  A malfunction at Tajikistan's biggest power plant left most of the country in complete darkness for several hours late on Friday, the Central Asian nation's state energy company said. The company, Barqi Tojik, said the blackout was caused by an outage at the Nurek hydroelectric power plant which provides up to 75 percent of electric power in the nation of 8 million, which borders Afghanistan. A spokesman for TALCO, the country's sole aluminium smelter which is a major consumer of energy and a key earner of hard currency, said he did not know whether production lines had been affected.–Reuters

In the capital Dushanbe, streets were completely dark for about four hours as even traffic lights went out. Power supply was then restored gradually, district by district.

Tajikistan, the poorest former Soviet republic, plans on Saturday to start building the new Rogun hydroelectric plant, for which Italy's Salini Impregilo this year won a $3.9 billion contract.