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New mountain law adopted by the Parliament

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Monday, July 20
The bill envisaging a broad range of benefits for the residents of high mountainous regions was adopted by Parliament with its third hearing on July 16.

The draft will require at least GEL 93 million of funding.

Most of the benefits, including allowances for teachers, doctors and pensioners, will go into force in 2016 and some others, such as partial funding for household electricity bills will be in effect by 2017. The proposal also envisages tax breaks for selected enterprises, operating in the mountainous regions.

According to the bill, the status of High Mountainous Area should be given to settlements located at least 1,500 meters above sea level in the regions which are considered to be located in the mutinous areas . However, the government will have the right to also grant this status to settlements located 800 meters above sea level, taking into consideration conditions ranging from agriculture land areas to the depopulation of such settlements.

People living for at least 9 months a year in the high mountainous settlements will be eligible for the benefits envisaged by the bill. The governor/mayor will have the authority of granting the status of A Resident of High Mountainous Settlement.

The United National Movement (UNM) stated that giving this authority to the locals have a high corruption risk and people, who are not actually residing in the high mountainous areas, may appear in the list of those eligible to benefits.

According to the Member of the Parliament Majority Gia Zhorzholiani, a special ministry is planned to be created soon.