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Minister says ‘destructive forces’ try to affect energy projects

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, May 16
Georgia’s Vice-Premier and Energy Minister, Kakha Kaladze, dismissed recently-spread information that graves have been damaged during the construction of high-voltage power line in Dusheti region villages in eastern Georgia.

Kaladze says that the information was released by some “destructive forces”, who want to mislead the population and hinder Georgia’s development process.

"The Government of Georgia has adopted a 10-year plan of energy development initiated by the Ministry of Energy, which envisages the construction and rehabilitation of power transmission lines and substations. The Ksani-Stepantsminda high power transmission lines are the part of this plan,” he said.

The minister added that the information, released by “destructive forces”, that these construction projecys are harmful for the environment and health of the locals, is not true.

He noted that these “destructive forces” are some Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) who want to deliberately mislead people.

“Recently, they have accused us of digging out graves and insulting the dead,” Kaladze stressed, without specifying the names of the NGOs.

The protest rallies of locals against the construction of construction of high-voltage power lines in Dusheti, started last week.

Locals say the lines above their houses will lead to health problems for them and their children, starting that Leukemia and other forms of cancer will become inherent risks.

They also say the Energotrans company plans to cut down trees for the construction work, which will cause landslides and also damage their holy places, cemeteries and real estate. They do not exclude the possibility of some villages becoming entirely empty. The lines are planned to be over the villages of Oshpiteli, Khando, Chartali, Muguda and Knondis Khevi.

On Sunday, locals tried to prevent the construction company from carrying out the work, saying they had damaged the graves of their loved ones.

In response to the protesters, the Ministry of Energy released a video explaining that the construction process does not affect the graves.

The Ministry says that 500 megawatt power lines will connect Georgia, Russia, Armenia and Iran, adding that the project is of the utmost importance for the country’s development.