AKHALTSKHA (Yerkir)–The residents of the Tsnis village in the Akhaltskha (Akhaltsikhe) Region of Georgia blocked the main transportation route through the region during a protest yesterday–June 17.
The protesters demanded that they immediately receive compensation for village grazing grounds through which British Petroleum intends to construct the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline.
Deputy Governor Vazha Beridze met with the local population to provide explanations. He said that the residents would receive compensation by October–when the preparatory phase of the construction is slated to start.
Registrar of the Akhaltskha Region Tsisan Natanadze explained that village residents would receive compensation only after meetings with the various localities by representatives of BP and the agricultural construction service. Those meetings would elect a local body representing the community–Natanadze said. Thereafter–to receive compensation–all residents would be required to sign the agreement that is concluded. The registrar would then draw up a contract determining how the compensation would be disbursed to the village residents.
Despite such assurances–residents said they don’t trust the "corrupt local authorities."