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karenshahramanyan.jpgThe recent meeting of the government endorsed the state order for capital construction to be funded from the state budget for 2013. According to NKR Minister of Urban Development Karen Shahramanyan, the order volume amounts to 11 billion and 500 million drams, instead of 13 billion and 637 million drams in the past year. As, compared to the last year, it decreased by over 2 billion drams, the program primarily includes passing objects that make up about 75% of the overall program.

 What construction programs will be a priority this year, and what goals are to be achieved? This was discussed in our interview with NKR Minister of Urban Development Karen SHAHRAMANYAN.


- Mr. Shahramanyan, what will the policy in the capital construction sphere be this year?


- Like in the previous years, currently the priorities of the state order are housing construction, covering construction and capital repair of apartments of deceased freedom fighters’ families, displaced people and large families, as well as solution of the housing problem of orphan-children. There are programs related to the construction and repair of cultural and sports facilities, schools and kindergartens. Programs for the construction of roads, water systems also remain in force.


- How much money will be spent on housing?


- Within the 2013 state budget, 1024.617 million drams will be allocated for housing, which will mainly focus on the completion of the objects passed to this year and those to be repaired. 160 million drams will be provided to regional administrations for removing the damages caused by the natural disasters in the regions. The capital repair of the roofs of apartment buildings in the regional centers will be also continued, for which 57 million drams are allocated.


- The government is very active in the construction of the education sphere, however, there is a shortage of schools and pre-school establishments both in the capital and in the regions.


- This year, the construction and repair of 5 schools and 6 kindergartens will be completed and construction works will be continued in 12 schools and 2 kindergartens. Construction of a kindergarten in the town of Karvachar is starting this year.


- Unfortunately, the roads in Artsakh are not improved. How do you plan to resolve this issue?


- The state budget allocated 2 billion and 561 million drams for road construction. Works will be underway in the road sections of Stepanakert - Nngi – Martuni and Stepanakert – Goris; improvement and asphalting works will be conducted on the road Ivanyan – Noragyugh in the Askeran region. 50 million drams are allocated for the maintenance and operation of the republican roads, and 400 million drams are allocated for the maintenance, operation and current repair of the local roads.


- The major task in the urban development sphere, which requires urgent solution, is, perhaps, construction of water systems. If I'm not mistaken, the water supply program will be completed in Stepanakert this year.


- Yes, this is quite a large program planned for four communities – in Mushkapat, Agorti, Aknaberd and Artashavi, water supply systems and water measuring nodes will be constructed.


The irrigation program provides 80 million AMD, of which 50 million - for the Kashatagh region. The yards, the improvement of which started in 2012, will be put into operation in Stepanakert. Their value makes 641.142 million drams, and the construction-engineering works for improving the water supply system will take 1 billion and 185 million drams. The cost of the water supply program is 9 billion and 564 million drams. To date, works at 8 billion and 145 million drams have been implemented. By the end of the year, the program will be almost completed, and 47,446 people will be provided with 24-hour water supply.


It should be noted that construction works will be carried out not only on government funds in the territory of the republic. For example, in the health sphere the works will be conducted on the funds transferred by the closed JSC Karabakh Telecom on the extra-budgetary account of humanitarian assistance of the NKR Government. The program will continue the construction of hospital buildings in the towns of Martakert, Martuni and Berdzor, repair of the hospital in the town of Kovsakan and of the first floor of the Republican clinic. The extra-budgetary funds will provide the further construction of Stepanakert School #11.


- Mr. Shahramanyan, complaints are often voiced about the poor quality of construction. How does the Ministry of Urban Development manage to control the situation?


- The question can be viewed from several perspectives. At the sites under our control, there is no problem of poor construction (in particular, related to reliability). The issue is most acute in those cases where the facilities are built via private investments. In this case, the technical control is missing. This is quite a serious issue requiring urgent solution. Being the most responsible and important part of the whole construction process, actually, it dropped out of sight. Meanwhile, the body giving the construction permit must require and clarify the availability of an organization on the engineering control. Though, there is an appropriate inspection body conducting the control on the established order, but it is not enough. The ministry, with the help of 20 technical supervisors, are not physically able to control the construction in the territory of the entire republic. We implement construction works at over 300 sites.


- At a recent meeting with the NKR Prime Minister, the builders raised a lot of issues, one of which concerned the quality of local products. As noted, it does not meet the accepted standards and its volume does not meet the demand of the country.

- Yes, according to the government's policy, we should mainly use local building materials. Local assortment of stones and concrete is mainly used here. But, there is a problem of inconsistency of the building materials’ quality, in particular, used for trim works. Above all, they are not competitive at the market, yielding to granite on the design decisions, the volume and quality of the production. The organizations engaged in the production of building materials cannot meet the demand in the required time, and to suspend the construction is impossible. I see the solution in improving the production competitiveness.


 - Why? Are there any mechanisms of state support?


- Besides the available raw materials, processing workshops and advanced equipment are needed. We have inherited the stone-processing equipment from the Soviet era, except one or two organizations, which have recently purchased the equipment, but they can’t meet the

demand of the entire republic. As for the state support, the issue was dealt with by the Ministry of Economic Development. As far as I know, some enterprises have acquired modern equipment with the state support, via a privileged loan.


- There is certain dissatisfaction among the people related to the operation of water supply systems, when for various reasons the newly paved roads are destroyed. What is it conditioned by?


- I think this is due to staff shortages and the fact that the Stepanakert CJSC Vodokanal hasn’t justified itself yet. Actually, we have no hydrobuilders. After the construction of new polyethylene pipes, the water network service is still carried out on the old network, which is already out of order, leading to accidents. This is a very serious problem, and at the next meeting with the President of the Republic, we will discuss it, especially that the executive schemes of the commissioned objects are passed to the CJSC Vodokanal. Along with the schemes, we will provide their electronic versions.


- How do the buildings  in Stepanakert  correspond to the planning regulations, including from the architectural point of view?


- This is a big problem, especially for Stepanakert, and therefore the mayor's office should be more fundamental on this issue. First of all, mass granting of land should be stopped in the capital; some people get a building permit even in the green areas, covering the sidewalks. Then, we should get rid of illegal structures. In short, there is a concept of architectural and construction task and its rules should be followed. The population should understand this


Srbuhi Vanian