“S.O.S. Garni” Initiative
On 3 June the World Bank Inspection Panel Members Jan Mattsson and Birgit Kuba met Garni community residents in Kotayq Region to listen to their opinion on the amended version of 'Qaghtsrashen Gravity Irrigation System' project. S.O.S. Garni Initiative member Arusyak Ayvazyan presented the community concerns with the project implementation. She outlined that the amended version hasn't been discussed at the community and the public opinion hasn't been taken into consideration. This project is going to have disastrous impact on Garni Gorge, Azat Reservoir and nearby residential areas, which haven't been included in the Qaghtsrashen project as a project impacted community.
She outlined that in their fight against the Qaghtsrashen project Garni residents have always demanded to annul this project, as the implementation of Qaghtsrashen project will result in the destruction of the nature in Garni Gorge, waterlogging of Azat Reservoir and loss of practical significance of irrigating 7100 ha of land areas near Yerevan and in Ararat Region.
Desertification processes in Garni Gorge will intensify, which is already considered a semi-desert zone. 'Khosrov Forest' State Reserve will also be impacted negatively, which is bordered with the Azat River up to Azat Reservoir. For recent decades the Azat River has become extremely low-level and doesn't meet the demands of the gorge. Garni residents having taken part in this meeting expressed drastically against the implementation of Qaghtsrashen project. Garni residents proposed the representatives of the World Bank not to fund the Qaghtsrashen project and direct the funds to the construction of solar and wind power stations, which will produce cheap electricity for the operation of the pumping station and will pump water to the relevant areas, as well as supply electricity to the community for the whole year. Garni residents have also proposed to direct funds for the development of tourism in the region.
The World Bank representatives have also visited the victim of the Qaghtsrashen project and listened to his complaint.
At the end of the meeting the World Bank representatives thanked Garni residents for presenting their concerns.
18:30 June 05, 2017