Saba Tsitsikashvili, Gori
You can see many people every day who stand in long lines in front of chambers of various officials and are asking for some form of assistance. Some want to ask for money so that his/her child can have a medical operation, others need money for the house roof repair, some ask for help for they have no income and therefore they are just hungry. According to Zviad Khmaladze, head of Gori Municipality-Sakrebulo, 80, 000 GEL was spent in the last 6 months of 2008 on socially excluded people. This amount of money was redistributed among a total of 165 citizens.
The representatives of the Human Rights Center found out that Lado Vardzelashvili, the Shida Kartli Region Governor applied to Minister for Regional Management in May, 2008. The Governor wrote that “as the relief is uneven in Shida Kartli and it is difficult to reach some villages in the region, and now request you that you ask the Ministry of Finance to provide use one more car so that we work can be carried out more effectively.”
The Prime Minister of Georgia issued a resolution # 409 on June 18th, 2008 on apportioning 70,000 GEL to Davit Tkeshelashvili, the Minister for Regional Management so that the Shida Kartli Governor could purchase the much needed vehicle.
The Shida Kartli Regional administration bought a new Jeep a month ago. The old one which had been used by Lado Vardzelashvili has now been transmitted to Zurab Chinchilakashvili, Deputy Regional Governor. Lado Vardzelashvili uses the new car. It is unknown yet whether Davit Tkeshelashvili bought a new car to Lado Vardzelshvili to visit villages or to feel comfortable. This is very interesting point to ponder, especially in light that Lado Vardzelashvili has stopped meetings with citizens, let alone making visits to far and isolated villages.
Both Jeeps cost 150, 000 GEL and this is a sad commentary when only 79 995 GEL was allocated to socially excluded people, and does not reflect well on head of Gori Municipality-Sakrebulo. The majority of those 165 citizens have not received their aid up to present time.
For instance, Ketevan Tlashadze, the mother of 9 has been requesting on her justified benefit but with to no success. Lado Vardzelashvili gave her 150 GEL at the beginning of the year 2008. Tlashadze has to address to the President directly. She has sent several registered – returned receipt letter from Gori Post Office.
This is what Ketevan Tlashadze wrote to the President Mikheil Saakashvili:
“I have sent many letters to the State Chancellery, I mailed 3 letters to the Parliament, and I have sent one letter to Nino Burjanadze and one to Mikheil Machavariani [leader of National Movement]. However, I have not received a reply from any of these letters. Neither have you taken measures to assist. What is the use of your new government if it does not help people? They always reject our request on help. We, mothers of the large families used to receive 500 GEL as the single-term aid the previous two years. However, the government did not give us the money this year. I wonder if the representatives of your government feed their children once a year. We the mothers of many children received only violets on the Mother’s Day this year. If the mothers of large families are cherished in Tbilisi why are not we? I have been below the poverty level for the last 3 years. I scored 52,920 points for the first time [the first time the poverty reduction program was implemented]. People with 57 000 points received aid while I, who had more suitable scores to qualify ton receive assistance, was rejected. I appealed the decision in Tbilisi and they scored 74 000 points to me, I appealed the decision for the second time and they gave me 64 000 points. Meanwhile, the children grew up. My family is half starving. My kid son suffers from lung disease. He is 14…”- this is the extract from Ketevan Tlashadze’s letter. We consider this is enough to picture the grief of this woman.
It must be noted that the administration of President Mikheil Saakashvili sent all her letters to responsible bodies. However, all of them responded that they could not help Ketevan Tlashadze’s family. The local government representatives state that she received all possible benefits from the state.
Ketevan Tlashadze considers that the letters she receives from the president are not real. She states that the letters are forged by the District Governor’s administration.
One month ago the president wrote to Mrs. Ketevan in person:
I studied your problem carefully. I can assure you that we try our best to create the country where every citizen is appreciated and protected. Many people still live in bad social conditions; many are unemployed and many people try to defeat poverty. We made first serious steps towards the improvement of a social protection system: the pensions have been increased; various state social protection programs are being implemented effectively. However, this is not enough, as it is only the beginning. We know that a lot more needs to be done. Consequently, we continue working in order to defeat poverty and provide normal conditions together with you for working and for living. We will help you by all means. We will try our best that you and all citizens feel that they are the children of developed, strong and caring state.”