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Batumi City Hall Left Poor People without Free Dinner


Maka Malakmadze, Adjara

The Batumi City Hall reduced the rank of socially disabled people, who can have free dinner, from 70 000 to 57 000 points. As a result, more than 100 families remained without assistance. A local resident Vladimer Jgharkava applied to the Adjara office of the Human Rights Center for help.

Five-member family of Jgharkavas lives in Rurua Street # 3 in Batumi. They were granted 58 170 points in the data base of socially disabled families. The only income of the family is the pension of 80-year-old Vladimer Jgharkava.

Vladimer Jgharkava: “We cannot receive social allowance because social agent granted 58 170 points to us. I do not know how to buy bread now. Yesterday I went to the dinner-house and they said I could not have dinner there any longer.”

Based on the decision of the Batumi City Hall neither Stephan Gapoyan nor Dariko Sarjveladze will have free dinners hereinafter.

Stephan Gapoyan: “I am a disabled person. I used to have free dinner at dinner-house. Now, they say I have high rating and cannot have free dinner. They have destroyed our last hope.”

Dariko Sarjveladze: “We cannot buy enough food at home. We are three members in the family. The dinner is not served on the weekends. I have two sick persons at home whom I used to take dinner home. If they stop this assistance, I do not know how to get food.”

Head of healthcare service department at the Batumi City Hall Sopo Mikeladze said they preferred to include only those families in the program who had lower points.

“This year, the families with maximum 57 000 points will involve the program. They urgently need our assistance. We warned the families with higher rating two months ago about the changes in the program. We announced that families with more than 57 000 points will not be able to have free dinners this year. They could apply to the social agencies to check the information. They can protest the decision as well.”

According to Mikeladze, if the family is a socially disabled, their agent will evaluate them again and if less than 57 000 points are granted to them, they will be able to have free dinners and get allowance too.

It is noteworthy that Social Agency evaluates the living conditions of the impoverished families only once a year to grant points. As an exception, the families can be additionally evaluated if a new member is born or somebody dies in the family; or the family moves to another place. So, a social agent cannot evaluate the family repeatedly only to restore their right to have free dinners. Consequently, those citizens remained without free dinners at least for one year.

The program of free dinner-houses has been implemented in Batumi since 2005. Citizens cannot have free dinner on the weekends. Batumi City Hall envisaged 1, 50 GEL for each beneficiary this year; the city hall intends to feed only 1 400 socially disabled persons and 641 900 GEL was allocated from the budget for the purpose.

The healthcare service department does not have exact information how many people remained without free dinner in Adjara after the amendments were made by the government.

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