"We won’t live better." Villagers in Alai district oppose coal mining the country

Residents of the village of Sogondu, Alai district, are protesting against coal mining in the town of Taigak-Tash, which is located at a distance of 2500 meters from the village. Local residents explain their position by the fact that coniferous trees are cut down, production waste will fall into the Gulcho River, which will damage the surrounding nature.

In turn, LLC Biking, which is a coal producer, assures that there will be no harm to the environment, and recalls that the company has a license to develop the deposit.

Residents of the village of Sogondu, who opposed the development of a coal mine, appealed to the local authorities and the enterprise intending to mine, with a request to stop all mining operations. They are sure that the producing company violates the environment and the condition of the local pasture is deteriorating. Baktybek Arynbaev, deputy of the Leninsky ayyl kenesh of the Alai region, stated the following:

- If they start to mine coal, we’ll not live better. How many hazardous substances are there underground! This means that it will harm people, the environment. Our villagers make a living by raising livestock. And the place where it is now planned to mine coal is our pasture. There we graze our cattle. Prior to this, the villagers held a meeting and sent their appeal to the akim of the Alai region and the leadership of the Osh region. But, despite the response of the authorities, the company "Biking" continues its arbitrariness.

This LLC took into development about 120 hectares in the town of Taigak-Tash. On February 8, company representatives began their work by installing two containers for people to live on the private territory of one of the local residents. In this regard, the owner of the site, Durusbek Apiev, turned to the police, accusing Biking of violating the law. And according to him, this fact is already registered in the Unified Register of Crimes and Misconduct.

In December 2017, the Bikinging Enterprise received from the State Committee for Industry, Energy and Subsoil Use of the Kyrgyz Republic a three-year license for the exploration of this field. Mustafa Turganbaev, a spokesman for the company, which re-registered on June 13, 2019, says that the development of a quarry near the village of Sogond is under the law:

- We only have permission to mine coal.” We did not receive licenses for the subsequent sale of fuel. We do not pollute the environment. We just have to find out if there is coal in Taigak-Tash or not. If it is found there, then we will mine it in a closed way so as not to harm the environment. We work within the law. We pay all taxes and deductions. But locals impede our activities. But since we live in a state of law, it would be good for everyone to act within the framework of the law.

Akim of Alai region Zamir Moldokulov met with protesting villagers. He said that a commission had been created at the district level that would study the situation with coal mining at the Taigak-Tash field:

- There is a special commission. It must make a conclusion. Let's wait and act on the basis of the results. How harmful this is to the environment, they say that mining is too close to the river and the main road. If the commission reveals the negative impact of the development of the field, then we will consider the issue of revoking the license from the mining company. Now people are voicing their discontent. And the people are the wealth of the state. And their requirements must be met. It is illegal for a company to install containers on someone’s private territory. All this caused discontent among residents.

After negotiations with the villagers and the district administration, Biking removed both containers. The villagers went home, and the representative of the mining enterprise Mustafa Turganbaev noted that all mining operations were temporarily suspended.

According to GKPEN, in the Alai region there are 62 companies that have received licenses for the development of mineral resources.

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10-03-2020 11:29