Foreigners are capturing Georgian land?08.04.2013 | 20:33
An incident occurred on April 6, between the villagers of Haishi, Tetritskaro district, eastern Georgia, and the Iranian tenant farmers of the region. Locals have demolished the fence and broke into the farm of the foreigners. Police has intervened into the conflict and the incident was temporarily exhausted. But the anger of the citizens of Georgia now and then arises throughout the country. Georgians are trying to defend the land that had been secretly transferred by the previous government into the long-term lease or even sold to the foreigners. As a result, local residents are left without land that feeds them, without pastures and farmland.
According to the Georgian legislation a citizen of any country can buy land here. The former government even occasionally announced tender to sell them. Usually, this was done via the Internet. Unfortunately, among the locals there are few users of the World Wide Web, that is they were last who learned about the sale of the land, while the this land was right under their noses. So, the people of other nationalities and religion - Chinese, Indians, Iranians - gradually appeared next to them. They became the new owners of this land. They seek to marry a Georgian, get citizenship and settle on Georgian fruitful soil.
The policy of the states where the population is growing rapidly is understandable: people need to be placed somewhere. And the more they spread over the world, the stronger becomes the state. It is not easy to find a country to implement such a policy. Georgia has appeared the most accommodating in this regard.
Imagine that you are a farmer, a resident of one of the mountain villages in Kharagauli. You wake up early in the morning, go to the barn to milk a cow, and suddenly you meet ten Chinese measuring your garden. In Georgian reality this episode means that the land around your home was sold or leased for the construction of any objects. And since you live here, you'll have to do something with that, but no one will explain what exactly.
This is just one episode of the whole scenario taking place in the last months in the various regions of Georgia. Thus, for example, in the Georgian village of Ditsi at the border with South Ossetia, the locals do not want to give up their land to the Indian farmers. They tried to expel them from those sites that authorities had sold them in December last year.
Do the clashes between locals and outsiders take place in all regions with a similar situation? And what does really outrage the people? Who is to blame more: the power that has sold the land, or the foreigners who have bought it?
Gia Kruashvili, resident of the Kharagauli district, former majority candidate, member of the party "Tavisupali Sakartvelo". He is familiar with the local situation. Mr. Kruashvili told us that last year, about 300 Chinese, who started the construction of the tunnel under the contract with the former government and with the active support of the UNM, settled in Kharagauli. Their work is being controlled by no one; they meet neither environmental regulations nor safety standards. The mineral springs and healing waters have already suffered from the results of their work. And that's not all.
- Kharagauli is mountain area. At the very top there are three pools with its fauna. Chinese were to clean pools from amphibias. They started with the cleansing of one of them, and for this carried the frogs and snakes in the second pool. As a result, the pond burst, the water flooded the entire top of the pool, destroyed the cemetery and restaurants. A woman and child have died; snakes and frogs have dispersed to the surrounding area. Recently, one of our friends, environmentalist by profession, visited the construction site of the tunnel in Kharagauli. She returned six days ago and said that the situation there was terrible, full of chaos. The local inhabitants are mainly engaged in heavy labor. Their work day lasts 15 hours, and they earn a total of 15 GEL. There occurred attempts of rape of the local schoolgirls by the Chinese. And even given these facts, the local government gave them a residence permit and promised citizenship. In one of the villages - Tsipa - there is being carried out construction of a school for Chinese children. And the Chinese government encourages its citizens to move to Georgia and promises to grant 40 thousand euros to each Chinese who marries a citizen of Georgian. They change the name, adopt Georgian customs and traditions, in general want to become Georgian.
- In several regions of Georgia there have already taken place clashed between the local population and foreigners: with Indian farmers in Tetritskaro, with Iranian owners in Ditsi. What about Kharagauli? It's obvious that there are more reasons for the disturbance among the local residents.
- I have no accurate, that is, I have not seen it myself. But such collisions obviously take place in Kharagauli. I keep hearing that some clashes occur.
- What, in your opinion, is the main reason for this outrage? Who is to blame, the government? Or the foreign farmers provoked unrests by themselves?
- Both. And who gave them free? The past government gave them all the cards. Local authorities are still composed of representatives of the UNM, they certainly are in collusion with foreign farmers. You see, I think the main reason is that the old authorities have not completely gone, and the new authorities have not yet fully come to power.