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KARMIR SHUKA – A VILLAGE WITH PERSPECTIVES
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KARMIR SHUKA – A VILLAGE WITH PERSPECTIVES

Zarine MAYILYAN

 Karmir Shuka settlement of Martuni region is located in the southeastern part of the republic. Unlike some Artsakh villages, it is one of the fastest growing and developing communities. The village of Karmir Shuka is a connecting link for a number of neighboring villages, where infrastructures, workshops, and jobs are being added year by year, which helps residents of the surrounding communities solve the employment problem right here. By the way, the village was justified in the early years of Soviet rule in Karabakh as a market for nearby settlements. Workers from nearby villages and elsewhere came to work in the winery built here, and also settled here.

This mountainous community now has an area of 2395 hectares, 1745 hectares of which are agricultural and 428.31 hectares are forests. The population is engaged not only in agriculture, cattle breeding and farming, but also in various community workshops, organizations, factories.
On September 8, the community elected a pretty young leader, Narek Atayan, who is eager to implement various projects in the village. Recently, being in Karmir Shuka community, we talked to the newly elected leader, got acquainted with the ongoing work and plans for the community.
Introducing the daily life of the village, population growth and other circumstances, the young mayor mentioned the need to give the village of Karmir Shuka another status, at least- a small-town. The community has development perspectives. In general, part of the population, as mentioned above, is engaged in agriculture, farming, cattle breeding, in addition 2-3 large farmers have more than 100 cattle. There are areas of oil, wine, woodworking and others. The LLC “Rapeseed” is an oil plant equipped with modern technologies. Refined and unrefined oils are produced here. “Rafo” LLC also provides jobs for villagers. With the funds of the Artsakh Investment Fund, this construction company is building multi-apartment buildings in Karmir Shuka. According to the plan, two four-storey buildings with 3 and 4-bedroom apartments, basement floors are being built adjacent to the community school, the new district will have a furnished playground, a park. The apartments will be provided to officers of the Defense Army, families with 5-6 children, as well as young families with mortgage lending at affordable rates. According to our interviewee, in recent years, various professionals have been trying to establish themselves in the community, however, because of the housing problem, they have given up. Many families in the surrounding villages have also expressed a desire to move to Karmir Shuka because, besides jobs, there is a kindergarten, as well as a renovated school. The community leader of nearby village Sargsashen provided a car for preschool children to take them to Karmir Shuka kindergarten and back every day. From the demographic point of view, the birth rate is increasing year by year in the community. 20 children were born in the community in 2018. 268 families are registered in Karmir Shuka as of January 1, 2019. Pensioners make up 13.7% of the population. The school building is well-built, but with increasing numbers of pupils, however, there is a need to improve building conditions. The school, has 274 pupils, where study not only the children of the community but also the children of the village of Taghavard. It is appropriate for students in these and other nearby villages to attend the High School of Karmir Shuka. The newly built school has laboratories and basements, but because of the small classrooms, there are still problems with pupil placement. There are 100 children attending kindergarten. The first branch of this preschool facility has been slightly renovated, but the second one is in poor condition, where pupils of not only from Karmir Shuka community but also from Taghavard community study.
Referring to the quality of medical care in the community, our interlocutor mentioned that they have an aid station, but the building conditions are not good, there is no ambulance, which causes serious problems in the medical care. There are experienced nurses, but since they do not have a medical facility, a doctor's position is not provided. In the past, when Karmir Shuka had the status of a small-town, they also had a physician, there were inpatient conditions for patients, which are now in dire need.
The village has economic, construction, grocery stores, gas-filling stations, electricity network, Artsakhpost branch, one firefighting rescue service, Karabakh Telecom service station. In total, about 100 people are involved in the enterprises of the village, 310 in the agricultural sector, and 135 in other types of work. According to the head of the community, sowing of crops in autumn and spring is done in agrotechnical terms, at the same time the process of nutrition, weeds and fight against pests is carried out. Last year, 287.9 hectares of crops were harvested, and 6165 tons of gross crops were harvested. The average yield per hectare was 21.4 cents. Production of beef and pork is profitable. The population is provided with drinking water, the village is gasified, except for 4 families because of the gas main off the highway. The community is provided with wireless telephone and the Internet is also available. With the investment of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund, a community center has been built in Karmir Shuka, where the school library and club are located. The young mayor confessed that, in spite of all this, there are no recreational areas for young people in the village, especially when the farming season is over, and they want to organize their leisure time in an interesting way.
One of the problematic issues in this growing community is the sanitary-hygienic condition. In his pre-election program, the young mayor assured that they would jointly tackle the issue of garbage disposal. As a result of recent discussions with the head of the Martuni regional administration, it was decided to designate one of the community areas as a waste collection and disposal site. The garbage dumps of the community have been flooded and now they present an environmental hazard. According to the preliminary agreement they intend to install closed garbage bins in the village and in parallel to obtain a garbage collector car, which will drive around the neighborhood on some days of the week and collect garbage. A public council will be set up for these and other controversial issues to discuss issues related to different areas. Because of the small budget of the community it is not possible to solve these problems, those in charge have turned to philanthropists for investments. In parallel, separate state programs will also assist in the solution of sewage disposal and waste management issues. The mayor has planned to create a web site about the village where the community news and announcements will be regularly updated. The mayor and the population have high expectations of changing the status of the village, because it will allow them to have new jobs, other opportunities for development.A