“We must rebuild Armenia, Shirak Marz, Gyumri in a new way” - PM holds consultation with Shirak Marz Administration
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Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan traveled to Shirak Marz to discuss ongoing and forthcoming programs and strategic issues. Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure Suren Papikyan, Minister of Economy Vahan Kerobyan, Chief of Staff of the Office of the Prime Minister Arsen Torosyan, Shirak Marz Governor Hovhannes Haroutunyan, Mayor of Gyumri Samvel Balasanyan, the deputy governors and other officials attended the meeting.
Before discussing the agenda, Prime Minister Pashinyan said: “It is crucial for the state and the local government to act in sync in order to complete the process of post-war social, psychological, and economic recovery. Last year we witnessed a tangible shift in Shirak Marz and in the city of Gyumri, in particular. The coronavirus and the war changed the situation to some extent. Now not only must we ensure that the ongoing programs are completed properly, but that there are new programs and incentives developed. The situation and the overall environment has to be changed in practice, so that the Republic of Armenia, as a whole, and Shirak Marz, Gyumri, in particular, might enjoy a situation satisfactory for all of us. On the way here I recalled our motto: “Let us rebuild Armenia anew.” This slogan, which we adopted back in the pre-crisis period, is now more relevant both in the direct and figurative sense of the word. We must formulate the task as follows: We must rebuild Armenia, Shirak Marz and Gyumri in a new way. I am pleased to state that the process of rebuilding Gyumri in a new way has been launched and is going on. This is a good example that we should follow up.”
The Governor and the Deputy Governors reported back last year’s results. They noted in particular that due to the global pandemic and the war, the programs provided for in the region were implemented by 80-90%. They assured that both the unfinished programs and the ones planned for 2021 will be completed this year.
Last year the region carried out subvention programs for the development and improvement of community infrastructure to a total cost of 3.3 billion drams. Communities have already submitted applications for 62 subvention programs for the current year to an estimated total cost of 4.4 billion drams.
Highlighting the effective implementation of subvention programs both in Shirak Marz and across the country, in general, the Premier stressed the need for daily monitoring and control to ensure appropriate quality of work.
“Given the peculiarities of the past year, we need to implement large-scale capital programs nationwide with renewed ardor and energy. Adequate funding will be made available for any good, effective, meaningful project that may help create a positive mood in the country. All companies and investors should be encouraged to implement projects conducive to maximum economic result, simultaneously ensuring proper quality standards and efficiency of construction activities,” Nikol Pashinyan said.
The Premier noted that the Government is prepared to provide incentives and help investors in building lifeline infrastructure, such as asphalt paving, gas and water supply networks. “In this way, we will encourage capital investments that will yield good economic results and generate new jobs,” the Head of Government said.
Coming to the progress in agricultural activities, Governor Hovhannes Haroutunyan advised that last year only 47,000 out of 78,000 hectares of arable land were cultivated in the region. In cooperation with the Ministries of Economy and Territorial Administration and Infrastructure, the regional administration continues to endeavor towards increasing the coverage of cultivated land by encouraging the creation of modern orchards and greenhouses.
In turn, Mayor of Gyumri Samvel Balasanyan noted that about 70 modern buses will be delivered to the city by this yearend, which will help drastically improve the municipal transport network. As part of a subvention program, photovoltaic panels will be installed in the city, which will help save a large amount of energy at the facilities under the jurisdiction of the municipality.
31 streets were repaired in Gyumri after 2019 under several subvention programs, 37 streets were repaired with funds available from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Some 180 kilometers of roads - 70% of local streets - will be rehabilitated in Gyumri by the end of 2022. According to Samvel Balasanyan, in cooperation with the World Bank, the city’s lighting network will be improved this year. Work is underway to ensure a twenty-four-hour water supply in the city. The Mayor advised that bus stops are being repaired in Gyumri, while the problem of sanitation has been completely solved. The city is provided with all necessary equipment. In parallel, works are underway to repair and expand the area of Friendship Park to 7.2 hectares. Concerning the construction of the North-South highway, those in charge reported that the construction of the Talin-Lanjik and Lanjik-Gyumri sections will be continued this year.
Speaking about the COVID-19 crisis, the Governor assured that the situation is under control. There are currently 48 COVID-19 patients in the region, with a total of 265 cases reported in January.
The meeting next focused on issues related to housing problems in Gyumri and the needs of Artsakh people who moved to Shirak Marz following the war. The heads of regional divisions of the Prosecutor’s Office, the Investigative Committee and the police made reports, presenting progress in the field of law enforcement.
The residents of Mastara, Ashnak, Nerkin Bazmaberd and Ujan communities stopped the Prime Minister’s convoy on the Gyumri-Yerevan highway and expressed their support for the head of government.