Uzbekistan continues to demand probe into Tajik hydropower project



The Uzbek government’s mouthpiece, the Pravda Vostoka newspaper, has again published an appeal to the Tajik authorities to conduct an international probe into the construction of the Rogun hydropower station.

In an unsigned article, Pravda Vostoka argued that the feasibility study of the project was drafted about 40 years ago based on old standards and solutions, so the project needed to be revised now because in Soviet times there was no practice of conducting an independent study of technical projects.

The newspaper claimed that the World Bank had repeatedly offered to sponsor the independent examination of the project.
Uzbekistan objectively assessed the current situation and expressed its surprise at the Tajik government’s stubbornness on this issue, it said.

In a recent response to Uzbek Prime Minister Shavkar Mirziyayev’s letter, his Tajik counterpart Akil Akilov said that the examination of the project’s feasibility study was already done by the German firm Lahmeyer for
Russia’s Rusal in 2006. The newspaper claimed that the German company had not examined the project for environmental and technical security because it was not entitled to.

Pravda Vostoka provided an example of the recent accident at
Russia’s Sayano-Shshensk hydropower station and reminded about the dangers of building a 350-metre-tall dam in the zone of high seismicity.

The newspaper concluded that those who were interested in the construction of Rogun opposed the international probe which might find faults and cast doubt on the feasibility of the project.

This is another attempt by
Uzbekistan to stop the construction of the hydropower station. However, the newspaper did not mention that Tajikistan needed this station precisely because of Tashkent’s energy games which were the cause of the Tajik people’s problems. Nor did it answer the question whether Uzbekistan was ready to acknowledge the results of the probe if it were to show that the construction will not harm the region’s environment.