The owners of Martziget-1 SHPP once again demonstrated the complete absence of any desire to solve problems in legal way. The officials and local authorities are actively helping them. Disrespect towards the locals and intimidation has turned into a visiting card for “Martsenergy” LLC, which invited several young men to the village, who started intimidating the villagers having signed under the protest against Martziget-1 SHPP – 320 signatures under the protest against the SHPP, which had been addressed to Nature Protection Ministry.
On 17 November over 60 activists arrived in Martz Village to tell the villagers they were not alone in this struggle. The activists marched across the village. The situation in the village is not the best one. Many out of the villagers, who had put their signatures, don’t even hope for the solution of the problem, while threats are real. Nonetheless, several villagers, including a Vacho (the villagers remember his name most frequently) turned up and stated they had a right to their own opinion and they were “for” SHPPs.
It’s unclear where they came from, as they were not present at the public hearings of 12 March 2013. They didn’t appear during the collection of signatures, during the negotiations with the ministry working group, and even when the residents threw the pipes into the river, you couldn’t find them there. And, suddenly, they appeared. Meanwhile one of they had long left the village, one of them lives in Alaverdi: who backs them?
It’s not the first time pressure is exercised on the villagers. At the very beginning, the regional administration tried to exercise pressure on them through the teachers threatening to impose sanctions on them. They were running negotiations through the village head: now it’s the turn of the group of conditional “fighters”. By the way, these several people didn’t look too brave, when they were a direct question under whose instruction they were intimidating the villagers.
Now, about decision-making. It’s obvious that the positive opinion of environmental expertise didn’t have any grounds, as it had been long proved that the minutes of the public hearings was a fake.
The working group of Nature Protection Ministry carried out imitating actions. They just had a look at the section of the river, where a SHPP should have been constructed and that’s it.
As a result of inactions and with the connivance of the authorities a conflict grew in the village, which beyond its borders. On the same days the activists and residents blocked Armenia-Georgia as a sign of protest.
The continuation is evident. The activists are ready to visit the village at the first sign. Irregardless of the consequences, the officials bear direct responsibility for what is happening, who protected the interests of the business, violated the law and put their signatures. GENTLEMEN, YOU HAVE TO ANSWER FOR YOUR SIGNATURES!!!! (details in EcoLur’s video).
This material was made possible through the full support of Open Society Foundations – Armenia’s Policy Fellowship Program Initiative, grant number 18571. Ideas, thoughts, and arguments presented in the paper are the sole expression of the author’s views and do not reflect those of Open Society Assistance Foundations – Armenia.
13:12 November 20, 2013