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Monday, 24 October 2016


Georgian "Baikal-Amur Mainline" bogged down in corruption

2010-12-16 21:02

Georgian Baikal-Amur Mainline bogged down in corruptionJust a month ago, Mikheil Saakashvili held a pompous opening of a new high road in Georgia. The 221-kilometer route has a great meaning for the country, for it will connect southern regions with the capital. Since the USSR collapse, it has been easier to get to Turkey and Armenia from southern regions than to Tbilisi. The only mishap is that the non-governmental organizations have found out that the road was built with violation of construction standards and characterized the contractor's activity as swindle.


Mikheil Saakashvili made the whole way from Tbilisi to the town of Akhaltsikhe by jeep. He made his trip together with his spouse Sandra Roelofs and U.S. Ambassador to Georgia John Bass. They were met by local residents in each village.

The Tbilisi-Akhaltsikhe road is no autobahn, of course, but is quite a modern route. Its political meaning was never concealed, for the road will connect the region of Javakh, or Samtskhe-Javakheti (official name) with the country's center. The region is mostly populated by ethnic Armenians living beyond poverty line. Potatoes are the only product grown here and now local villagers will deliver it to Tbilisi market quicker and at a lower cost.

The road has got no economical load, running through the abandoned towns and villages. It lacks just one hundred and a half kilometers to Batumi to become economically meaningful. In Soviet times, it was a direct way from Tbilisi to Batumi which has been destroyed.

This should be another successful "project of the century"; however, as it often happens in Georgia, non-governmental organizations put no value on the importance and scale of the government's plans, having criticized them for corruption and inefficient control. They assert there were a lot of violations of construction standards.

The politically important road was built in the context of the Millennium Challenge American program. This is a global program to assist the developing states that have got no money for infrastructure and regional development. The program is sponsored by the U.S.' federal budget.

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