Javakhk Armenians Leery of Government Development Plan

YEREVAN (Armenpress)– Based in Akhalkalaki–the A-Info news agency reported that a meeting was held on September 20 in Akhalkalaki–to focus on the social and economic problems of the region. Senior officials from Tbilisi and representatives of the prdominately Armenian populated administrative center of Javakhk province attended.

Despite certain pledges–local Javakhk community leaders were hesitant–stating that many such promises had been made in the past–with no practical outcome. They said they were very doubtful of the new plan of action.

Formulated in Tiblisi–the plan is designed to boost social and economic development in the region where the only stable labor source is the Russian military base–which is slated to close in the undecided future.

The plan concentrates on reconstruction of Ahaltsikha-Akhalkalak and Tbilisi-Tsalka-Ninotsminda roads between 2002 and 2005. These roads are expected to cut travel time to the capital of Tbilisi by half.

The plan also includes repair of secondary schools–building of new hospitals and other public facilities.

The deputy health and social security minister also promised to pay off some $1.3 million in pension debts within next two years.

The deputy energy minister said feasibility of constructing a hydro power plant on the River Taparvan is being studied.

And lastly–the deputy education minister’s speech concentrated on teaching the Georgian language in the local schools.

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