Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan traveled to Gegharkunik Marz of Armenia
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Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan today traveled to Gegharkunik Marz of Armenia. Accompanied by Minister of Territorial Administration and infrastructure Suren Papikyan, Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports Vahram Dumanyan, Gegharkunik Marz Governor Gnel Sanosyan, the Premier first visited Secondary School N2 in Gavar to get acquainted with the ongoing reconstruction activities.
The school was built in 1967. A study carried out in 2016 revealed that the building was in emergency state and it was no longer safe to hold classes in there. The inside walls were cracked, and there were even cases of rock fall from the building. A decision was made to rebuild the school; construction activities were complete by the end of 2020. 580 tons of iron reinforcement was used to rebuild the school in accordance with the latest seismic standards. The new school building can withstand an earthquake of up to magnitude 9.
The school was renovated under the School Seismic Safety Improvement Program, implemented through the Territorial Development Fund of Armenia. The Government of Armenia and the Asian Development Bank invested AMD 1,380 million in the reconstruction project.
The school did not lose any students as it did not operate at its main address during construction. Renamed after Papin Ghandilyan, the school is attended by 422 students at this point of time, but this figure may increase following reconstruction. It is designed for 576 students. The new school building is adapted to host children with disabilities; it has an elevator, well-furnished classrooms, a conference hall, a gym and laboratories.
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Today, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan traveled to Gegharkunik Marz to discuss ongoing and upcoming programs and strategic issues. The consultation was attended by Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure Suren Papikyan, Deputy Minister of Economy Tigran Gabrielyan, Gegharkunik Marz Governor Gnel Sanosyan, Deputy Governors and other officials.
Prior to discussing the agenda, Nikol Pashinyan noted: “We are today holding a regular regional consultation in Gegharkunik Marz. The agenda features socio-economic and security issues. Gegharkunik is one of the most active regions in terms of subsidy programs. Today we started our working day with a visit to a renovated school building. Our vision of rebuilding Armenia must be vigorously implemented. Moreover, it should be implemented not only by the state, the government and individual communities, but we should also encourage the private sector to participate in the construction and implementation process. Of course, the country’s social-psychological status and the overall security environment are important in this regard. The security environment around Gegharkunik Marz has changed. We will look at ways of ensuring the region’s security in this new situation in order to quell the people’s safety-related fears and address their concerns.”
Turning to the agenda, Gegharkunik Marz Governor Gnel Sanosyan noted that the state-community subsidy programs are implemented with strict maintenance of quality. The Governor stressed that the quality-related problems were eliminated during the previous year: the developers know that low-quality construction will not be accepted. The subsidy programs cover all key areas: infrastructure, kindergartens, water-mains, roads, etc.
3 billion drams-worth subsidy programs were implemented in the region in 2018, followed by 5.5 billion drams invested in 2019, and 6 billion drams - in 2020. Applications for programs worth 8.5 billion drams have been submitted for this year. The Governor advised that activities to a total cost of 20 billion drams were carried out in the region last year, in addition to other programs. 37 km-long road sections were rehabilitated under subsidy programs last year; the total length of reconstructed roads reached 120 km as a result of other allocations. Schools are being rebuilt successfully. There are currently 5 such projects underway at this moment.
Gnel Sanosyan pointed out that priority is given to tourism, agriculture and energy projects. Leasing programs for agricultural machinery are being implemented effectively; communities were provided with more than 60 units of farm machinery over the past one year. Growth is observed in the livestock sector. An investment program worth 15 billion drams is being implemented to establish a large farm in Artsvanist community alone. The region boasts some 181 thousand hectares of pastures, of which 124 thousand hectares are not used. Inaccessibility of pastures is the primary bottleneck.
The Prime Minister prioritized the programs aimed at promoting high-value agriculture, the development of infrastructure to make pasture roads accessible and reach out drinking water to communities. 98 hectares of drip-irrigated orchards have been established in the region, the volume of intensive orchards keeps increasing.
A pasture irrigation program is being implemented in cooperation with the World Bank, under which a 2 km-long waterline and access roads will be built this year. The Governor noted that only half of the 81,000 hectares of arable land available in Gegharkunik is being used at this point of time.
Nikol Pashinyan said the government will continue to implement targeted programs in an effort to develop the agricultural sector and increase farming efficiency, which will contribute to the increase of arable land.
Coming to energy projects, Gnel Sanosyan informed that the construction of the Mets Masrik substation will start this year; the development of solar energy is stimulated by means of new initiatives. The Governor further advised that 1700 Artsakh residents remained in Gegharkunik after the war. The regional administration keeps their needs in the spotlight, providing them with all necessary conditions; their children attend Gegharkunik’s educational institutions.
With reference to the security environment, Commander of the 2nd Army Corps Arayik Harutyunyan reported that the Army Corps is successfully fulfilling the task of ensuring security. The next key task is to improve frontline infrastructure and carry out engineering works.
It was reported that the operative situation is calm and under full control on the borders. Reports were made by the heads of the Prosecutor’s Office, the Investigative Committee and the regional police departments, who presented the activities aimed at enforcing the rule of law in the region.
After the consultation, the Premier met with the locals rallied at the central square in Gavar, listened to their problems and answered their questions.