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Demanding to Compensate Damages from SHP Construction At Expense of Funds of Nature Protection Ministry and “Megaenergy” Company

Demanding to Compensate Damages from SHP Construction At Expense of Funds of Nature Protection Ministry and “Megaenergy” Company
18:47 October 11, 2012

EcoLur
Nature Protection Minister Aram Harutyunyan promised to stop the construction of SHP to people who were protesting against the construction of “Khachaghbyur-2” SHP, to include Getahovit village into the project affected area and to recover any damage caused, if such is detected.

These promises were made in the course of meeting with protest participants against the construction of “Khachaghbyur-2” SHP on 11 October. The press release prepared by the protest organizers particularly says, “Construction of small HPPs has been conducted at high rates in the territory of Armenia, which make much profit for their owners, top officials, deputies, and in its turn, bear high corruption risks. Although the result of this business is the incommensurable damage for environment, so far the program of SHP construction has been presented as a type of clean environmental activity in the frames of clean development mechanisms (CDR). Thus, it’s planned to construct over 300 SHPs, which will result in the elimination of all fish reserves in the country. Armenia has no damage assessment methodology for the construction of SHPs in Armenia, it doesn’t have parameters, which would enable assessing environmental flow. There is no risk assessment for agriculture. Permits are issued without any requirement to carry out measures against landslips generating due to construction without the assessment of seismic risks.   

Under such conditions, “Khachaghbyur-1” SHP already functions in Getahovit Village, Tavush Region, owned by Khachatur Kokobelyan, Chairman of "Free Democrats" Party, an MP from “Heritage” Faction. The SHP has already been functioning for 5 years, but it doesn’t have any fish passage, which resulted in the elimination of all endemic species inhabiting in the river, fish and turtles. Harvest has also decreased because of water insufficiency. And now “Khachaghbyur-2” SHP is being constructed on the same river, Paghjur.

This will lead to disastrous consequences, and the community will incur significant economic damage. Red-listed plant species may also be destructed. “Khachaghbyur-2” SHP is being constructed in the territory of specially protected area “Arjatkhleni” (Corylaceae forests), which was not taken into consideration by Nature Protection Ministry. Getahovit community didn’t issue any positive opinion on SHP construction, though the latter is conducted in the territory of community, i.e. these works are illegal.

Socio-economic impact assessment methodology should be worked out to continue the development of the sector of SHPs. Not only Nature Protection Ministry, but also Ministries of Agriculture, Economy and Emergency should deal with impact assessment, as SHPs completely fall into the responsibilities of these ministries.

We demand
  1. To take measures to stop the construction of “Khachaghbyur-2” SHP and to remove all the machines from the village territory.
  2. To recover damage caused to environment at the expense of funds of Nature Protection Ministry and experts (having signed the opinion of expert assessment), as well as those of “Megaenergy” LLC.
  3. To stop issuing permits for the construction of small HPPs as long as comprehensive and scientifically-substantiated methodology for environmental expert assessment are worked out.”
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