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More assistance for Shida Kartli

By Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, October 13
On October 11, President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili gave new instructions to the Government for improving social conditions in the villages adjacent to the Russian occupied regions. Having listened to the report of the Governor of Shida Kartli, Zurab Arsoshvili about the problems concerning the efficient distribution of firewood and drinking water for the residents, Saakashvili encouraged the authorities to efficiently support the peaceful population living within the region.

According to the information released by Arsoshvili the occupiers appear to have created serious problems for the villagers by cutting the water supplies making it difficult for the locals to carry out their regular agricultural activities. “10,125 hectares of land was without water but the problem in Nikozi has been partly sorted using an alternative irrigation system so that 43 villages are now being supplied with water,” the Minister of Agriculture Bakur Kvezereli said stressing that the seven more villages will be added to this list. “An appropriate project has already been worked out so that from next year the problem will be completely solved not only in Nikozi but also in Ergneti, Gori and Karely,” Kvezereli promised the President.

Stressing the importance of the additional social support for Shida Kartli inhabitants, the Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, Goga Khachidze spoke of the projects already being carried out for people living in the occupied territories and pointed out that the local administrations will provide the families with the firewood in a month’s time.

Saakashvili asked the authorities to pay particular attention to the residents of Nikozi and other surrounding villages because these areas are the most affected by the damage caused by the Russian occupiers. “We must help those people who have suffered the most as a result of the Russian occupation. These people should have the chance to be comfortable during not only the coming winter but all the following years. Supplying people with firewood, flour or any other essential items will be important in helping the families left with no land feel socially protected,” Saakashvili told Government representatives. He added that new projects to raise the level of education and healthcare will be the country’s response to the terrible behaviour of the Russian occupiers in the region.

The President has given his team ten days to deal with all the problems within the Shida Kartli region and report back to him on all the assistance they will have carried out within this period.

Analyst Malkhaz Chemia couldn’t find anything new in the President’s initiative to support the Shida Kartli region. Pointing out there have been many serious aid projects carried out in the region even during Soviet times, Chemia is concerned that the issues of irrigation and drinking water have always been among the region’s unsolved problems.

“The problem of coordination between the Georgian and South Ossetian sides has become a controversial issue in particular regarding the irrigation and drinking water supply. The European Commission funded important projects during Shevardnadze’s presidency between 1998 and 2003, which was unfortunately suspended by the current Government,” Chemia told The Messenger. He also suggested that to promote economical prosperity within the region factories should be restored and built to process fruit.