Silicosis and Tuberculosis In Mines of Akhtala Ore Processing Combine (Photos)

Silicosis and Tuberculosis In Mines of Akhtala Ore Processing Combine (Photos)


The situation in Akhtala is tense. Nevertheless, the situation got tense not on the eve of election and not even when it was found out that the tycoon of this industrial town, entrepreneur Serob Poghosyan is a pedophile. Kapan have problems, but they were hushed up. Here is an extract from the conversation with ex chief power engineering specialist of Akhtala Ore Processing Combine Vladimir Khitarov, “People in these mines suffered from silicosis and tuberculosis. There is a crushing plant, where dust is heavy and you can’t get rid of it. The workers wear gas masks. Mainly young people are employed, now they don’t hire any workers from Akhtala, but hire from Vanadzor, Alaverdi: maybe they want to punish us. But I think that Serob is not as guilt the government is. Serob was an advisor to the PM, everywhere you can find his photos with the President and PM. Nobody could say anything, kept silence…I used to be the chief power engineering specialist of Akhtala mine from 1964 to 2006. I have worked at the same enterprise for 63 years. Once they called me and told me to give false testimonies against mine director Azatyan. At that time General Director was Serob Ter-Poghosyan. I didn’t agree to that. They told me they couldn’t work with me any longer and made me retire. Though pension is due to me for my age. They fired me, but they owe me a salary of 1,219,000 AMD, which they didn’t pay off. I said, Mr. Serob, if you made me retire, well, but what about my salary? Till now I am in courts and return my salary through courts. Once the court turned down my lawsuit, though I had a certificate they owe me this money. Still in courts…”

By the way, Vladimir Khitarov is almost the only person, who decided to tell us what is going on in Akhtala ore processing combine. None of the residents agreed to speak in front of the camera or the tape recorder. When they were asked how they assessed the situation they said everything was ok and left. We asked Akhtala Mayor Haykaz Khachikyan about the socio-environmental problems, and he answered briefly, “Our problems are the tailing pump and smoke from Alaverdi combine, which reaches to Akhtala. Two tailing dumps have been closed, but not recultivated, which is not unsafe. In case of anthropogenic disasters, serious risks may occur. There are waste accumulators located in inappropriate places, tails and all these risks should be reduced to minimum. We submitted the problems to Nature Protection Ministry and hope they will be tackled.”

14:02 September 05, 2012

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