Wildfires in Government Session
By Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, August 11
The wildfire in Atskuri wood in Akhaltsikhe district was one of the main issues of discussions at the Government session on August 10. Investigations into the case have already revealed possible suspects. “Activities aimed at extinguishing the fire have been intensified in Atskuri and Borjomi, where the fire had been practically localized but the situation in Atskuri remains alarming. There are no new cases and there is no danger for the nearest settlements but still around 25 hectares have been already burnt,” Goga Khachidze, Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources told his colleagues stressing that around 200 soldiers are actively supporting the firemen in dealing with the fire.
“High temperatures and winds are hampering the extinguishing process. It’s my personal opinion that the fire was started on purpose. There are around 7-8 fires in this zone which means that the cause is inattentiveness,” Khachidze said explaining that despite the huge financial loss Georgia doesn’t need any international help with the extinguishing activities. “We have enough resources [to deal with the fire] but our expenses are increasing daily,” he added.
Prime Minister Nika Gilauri appealed to the people to be more careful and avoid making fires in the future or otherwise, he warned them, they could face possible penalties in the framework of Georgian criminal law in case of any violation. “I would ask everyone for their maximum attention about the particular problem we are facing nowadays. While there is no danger to those people living around, still the relevant services have been mobilized and we are waiting for the fire to be finally put out,” said Gilauri.
Commenting on the ongoing trainings in Tskhinvali, State Minister for Reintegration Issues, Temur Iakobashvili said that the Russian army tradition was to make the soldiers dig when they have some free time and advised Russia to “send soldiers to put out the fire in their country instead of inflaming the fire in the Caucasus.”
From the other 43 issues discussed by the Ministers, the creation of the free industrial zone in Tbilisi was highlighted by the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Vera Kobalia, who shared the details of the idea to the media before the Government session. “The creation of the free industrial zone is important for the Georgian economy. The place with more than 1500 people employed in different projects (production of electricity and building materials) will have a positive affect on increasing export conditions of our country,” Kobalia stated. A Jewish-Georgian company Tera 1 will be responsible for the creation of the free industrial zone which will start operating in a couple of years.
The tourism department, the fate of which has been the subject of public interest for the last week, will be abolished. Vera Kobalia explained to the media that the office will change its status and become the Georgian National Agency of Tourism but still remain under the authority of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development. Meanwhile Irakli Davitadze was appointed to the position of the United Transport Administration in place of Levan Chichinadze who decided to resign from the post. Having worked as the General Director of Air Navigation of Georgia, Davitadze also had experience in the transport field in the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development.