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Saakashvili’s industrialization in Stalin’s style2010-09-08 14:54
Georgian farmers are being stripped of land. All sweet spots are offered to investors as industrial zones or tourist facilities. Industrialization victims in Poti refuse to keep silent demanding return of pastures and threatening to block Poti-Tbilisi highway.
The Georgian government considers it a matter of honor to launch a free industrial zone in Poti. The opening ceremony was postponed thrice justifying the opposition's suspicions on the solvency of the main investor - RAKIA, an Arab company. Currently there are 22 companies the authorities have invited to work in the FIZ, 13 of which are founded by foreigners.
A new opening date is scheduled for the end of September.
Unlike governmental officials and businessmen, locals don't feel so excited about the event. The trouble is that 300 ha allocated to the enterprise zone include lands historically used as pastures.
Poti country folk are forced to stop breeding cattle and turn into townspeople. Good if they find jobs in FIZ facilities. Otherwise they will lose all means of subsistence which is most likely after all. Firstly, farmers were not taught craftsmanship. Secondly, Georgian investors prefer importing tax-free guest workers.
The secret wish of the locals is that Poti FIZ would never start operating. Still, the day came when they lost fields to take herds of sheep, nannies and cows to - the only source of income for many people here.
That is why people of Nabada village in Poti district have come forward with a legitimate demand: to be given new pastures in exchange for those given to the Arabs.
Pasturing on the town's periphery outside the FIZ is prohibited by local law and subject to a GEL 50 fine. There is a GEL 100 fine for a repeated violation (and this amount is higher than one's pension).
Unless the demands are met, people shall resort to an extremity promising to block Poti-Tbilisi central highway.
Residents of Onogia village in Martvili district faced similar situation in August. The lands were purchased by Ferrero company (Italy) specializing in chocolate production. They grow nuts in Georgia turning pastures into their gardens.
As GeorgiaTimes wrote earlier, until recently the pastures were under the jurisdiction of local authorities. Now they are controlled by central authorities.
The idea is to avoid conflicts between the population and new owners of Georgia's land.