Uzbekistan urged the government of Tajikistan to run independent examination of the Rogun project

 

http://enews.ferghana.ru/news.php?id=1558&mode=snews

 

February 3, 2010

 

 

Shavkat Mirzieev, the Prime-Minister of Uzbekistan, urged his Tajik colleague Akil Akilov to run independent examination of the Rogun hydropower plant, Pravda Vostoka, the official Uzbek newspaper, reports.

 

Reminding that several times the government of Uzbekistan addressed the authorities of Tajikistan, Russia and international organizations, Mirzieev underlined that principled position of Uzbek side on this issue is reasoned by the fact that the Rogun hydropower plant project was developed almost 40 years ago, based on outdated project, construction and technological decisions.

 

Uzbek Prime-Minister believes that prior to examining the possible consequences of building such enormous object the following things need to be carefully considered:

  • "the damage that can be caused by such project may hurt weak environmental balance in the region, also considering Aral Sea disaster;
  • this project may affect the volumes and content of Amu Daria since the survival of millions of people in this region with sharply continental desert climate directly depends on the availability of fresh and irrigation water, particularly in the period of systematic shortage of water;
  • the safety level of this project from anthropogenic threats and, first of all, earthquakes (the expected place of Rogun construction is located in higher seismicity zone at the joint fissure line. Several 10-point earthquakes took place here). The possible scale of the humanitarian disaster that can be reasoned by the break of dam and lead to hundred thousand people is scary.”

 

Mirzieev said that "the threat is that such hydropower plants as Toktogul and Nurek, built over 35 years ago, have not been properly repaired in the last 20 years; the accidents, causing real threat to entire region, are becoming more frequent". He also reminded about recent accident at Sayano-Shushen hydropower plant (Russia).

 

"The legality of Uzbekistan’s position on this issue was totally supported by such influential international and financial institutions as the United Nations Organization, the European Union, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, Russian Federation and its public associations, and other countries", the Uzbek Prime-Minister says. – "However, our repeated appeals were totally ignored by the government of the Republic of Tajikistan that forces the accelerated construction of this project, disregarding possible consequences and appropriate project and technical analysis. At the same time, the number of Russian design and construction companies work for this project; obviously, they are not really interested in the possible negative outcomes of this project".

 

Shavkat Mirzieev urged Tajikistan to run independent examination under the guidance of UN and its authorized structures that can independently evaluate both the validity of the project and all possible consequences, including the issues of environmental and water balance, anthropogenic disaster threats. According to Uzbek Prime-Minster, Tajikistan should continue the design and construction of the Rogun hydropower plant only after producing positive results in the research area.

 

"In case the positions of the Republic of Uzbekistan are ignored we have the right to address international community and world environmental organizations in order to prevent possible catastrophic outcomes of this project implementation", Uzbek Prime-Minister underlined.

The Rogun hydropower plant is the Soviet long term project the completion of which was initiated in September of 2007. According to the project, 6-aggregate Rogun hydropower plant has 335-meter high dam, capable to produce 3.6 million kilowatt-hours of electricity. This will allow the republic to overcome energy crisis and reach new level of economic achievements. The first two aggregates must be finished no later than in the beginning of 2012. The republic needs 6 billion somoni ($1=4.4 somoni) in order to finish the construction of the Rogun hydropower plant.

 

By the decision of the government of Tajikistan, entire population is involved in the construction of the strategic object: since January 6 the Rogun stocks have been publicly offered. Overall, the state issued 5 million shares and certificates for total sum of 6 billion somoni (about $1.3 billion). According to the Finance Ministry, national IPO already collected over 150 million US dollars.