Astghadzor Community in Gegharkounik Region is facing hard social problems because of the absence of the irrigation water. As a sign of protest, Astghadzor residents blocked Yerevan-Vardenis-Artsakh strategic road on 10 July. During their meeting with EcoLur in Astghadzor, the residents said that the problem is that the pumping stations, which should have pumped water to Lake Sevan, are put out of repair. 'Martuni' WUC operating under the State Committee on Water Industry, which serves Astghadzor community, hasn't repaired the pumps in a timely manner and left the villagers without any water in the irrigation season.
'We've blocked the road, nevertheless, the government has taken no actions – there is no water...our prime minister says to give water and to support the villagers, but how they support if there is no water...The pumps haven't been repaired in advance, as they have to spend money on that. They pocket the money, but the pump continues remaining in a worn-out state...The potatoes season will soon be over, but there is no water to water them. We earn our living with this potato, if don't grow potatoes, we will be broke,' the residents complained.
Astghadzor residents are getting deprived of their profit, which makes up 500,000 AMD per 1000 square/meter. In Astghadzor community, the irrigation of around 430 ha shall be ensured at the expense of Lake Sevan water. It's already mid-July, but the residents haven't watered their land areas even once. 'As of today, we haven't even watered our land areas once, and all the plants have completely dried out under the sun. The pumps are not ready so far, there is only one pump, which has been assembled incompletely and can supply water to 10-15 land areas, this won't solve problems...The heads of Water Economy Committee and our government have left our country unmanaged,' the locals were angry.
It should be mentioned that RA Agriculture Minister Ignaty Araqelyan said referring to the protest demonstration of Astghadzor residents, 'I've contacted with the State Committee on Water Industry and they say they have contracts for 80 ha out of registered 510 ha, and, therefore, water for 80 ha has been provided. If they want to have water, they shall pay for water and sign a contract. I want to cite the State Committee's message which says the villagers shall pay to get water, but the villagers refuse to sign a contract. '
'They say a contract... now no one will sign a contract with me to have my water irrigated. No one has told me to sign a contract to have irrigation water,' one of the residents said. He was interrupted by a WUC employee, who said, 'Who serves your village? I do it. You have cultivated your land area, so are obliged to apply to me and tell me – I have such a land area, sign a contract with me.' Angry residents asked me whether there is water available. 'There is no water: water is not sufficient,' the WUC employee said.
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12:37 July 18, 2017