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Stones Thrown in the Flooded Liakhvi River, Yellow-Red Facades, Japanese Quince Trees against Poverty

April 2, 2008

Saba Tsitsikashvili, Gori

At last the pre-election campaign in Gori has been initiated in the name of “Poverty Reduction Program” and prosperity is within a stones throw. With much fanfare in the last week almost all high-ranking officials from the executive government have visited Gori and its various districts. The officials enjoyed watching how stone were being thrown in the flooded Liakhvi River. Several ministers with their deputies arrived in Gori from Tbilisi just to see heaps of stones that had delivered from Marneuli district.

Davit Tkeshelashvili, Georgian Minister for Regional Management, stated during his visit in Gori that the river-bank reinforcement works was carried out under the auspices of the much touted 50 day governmental poverty reduction program. Tkeshelashvili considers that if 27-meter-long embankment will be supported by locals that poverty will be defeated.  The place where the above-mentioned activities were conducted covered the embankment of the Liakhvi River. The Liakhvi joins Mtkvari River several meters away from the area of the get together.

The boisterous visit of Tkeshelashvili was then followed by the visit of Zaza Gamtsemlidze, the Minster of Environment the very next day with much of the same pep talk. Taking credit for all good things is paramount.

Gamtsemlidze reported to journalists that the on-going works are organized by the Forecast Centre within the Ministry of Environment. “We are implementing the activities. We are not just throwing stones. The stones are laid as a foundation and then buildings will be constructed on top of them,” said the Minister.

Davit Tkeshelashvili is a frequent visitor to Gori these days and shares in the credit or baths in the limelight. He just cannot understand how some in the media are screaming fowl and do not fully appreciate all the good work. He also takes exceptions non-governmental organizations and some in the executive government. Some media sources and NGOs blame local authorities for having passed unreasonable and often ill-informed decisions.

For example, Zhuzhuna Tseretli, director of the NGO “Tanadgoma” wonders why only “Arkmshenstudia Ltd” has the contract to constantly clean the city. Tseretli made the statement about the problems early in 2008 during an official meeting with the former regional governor. Three months later the regional governor realized that there were some problems with the cleaning service and that it was not doing a proper job. Consequently, Vardzelashvili, the regional governor then involved students in carrying out cleaning responsibilities. When Zaza Gamtsemilidze and his deputy, former Shida Kartli Regional Governor, Lado Gegelashvili were entering Gori, current governor met them with students at the entrance to the city. They were cleaning the streets at the time…

Since Davit Tkeshelashvili arrived in Gori, the governor’s administration has had an adjustment in its attitude towards the Sanitary Department and distributed information that the department needed support from the city’s populace.  It is interesting to note that the head of the Sanitary Department just happens to be the close friend of the chairperson of the municipality council.

The Sanitary Department has been installing the rubbish bins in the streets for several days already. The part of the bins was purchased with the money allocated from the President’s Reserve Fund in the amount of 200, 000 GEL. Another part was purchased by the Municipality Development Fund.

“The bins are enough for the whole city. The main point is that population should be careful about how to use them purposely,” said Giorgi Kvitsinadze, Deputy Governor.

Shida Kartli Regional Governor calls upon locals for their support and by working together the government and people will be able to keep their city clean.

Facades are painted in bight colors, the water-system has been repaired, trees are planted, roofs repaired, and irrigation channels are cleaned, etc. All has been done in Gori under the banner of reducing poverty. However, the residents of the village of Sasireti in the Kareli District could not thank the governmental representatives when they visited the village-only water cannot resolve their problems.

The facades of the buildings are painted in Gori for a total cost of 1,400 000 GEL, which had been so generously allocated from the central budget to bring a new look to the face of the town.

Painting will be completed in several days. The Municipality intends to repair the residential buildings. They have set up a special commission that will conclude which buildings require reconstruction.

In parallel to it trees are planted in the city. Officials from the Gori Municipality Council took part in the planting. Davit Khmiadashvili, Gori District Governor was the first to plant a tree. Nearly 2000 decorative bushes of lilac, ash-tree and Japanese quince will be planted in various areas of the city.

Poverty reduction started with the repairing of the street lightening in Khashuri, town in Shida Kartli Region. The Khashuri District Government funded the repair-works of the street-lights. 35, 000 GEL was provided from the local budget for that purpose.