“Martzaget is being stolen…The community has opposed to the SHPP many times…Only a couple of people will have money gone to their pockets…The whole youth is against…A couple of people gave their agreement, as it’s within their interests and they speak on behalf of the whole village, that the village agrees, but it doesn’t…” This is how Martz Villagers replied to EcoLur’s question whether or not they supported the construction of “Martziget-1” SHPP.
It’s already several months since Martz villagers, Lori Region and green environmentalists have been fighting against the construction of “Martziget-1” SHPP. “MartzEnergy” LLC’s owner Liparit Simonyan insists that the Martz villagers support the construction of the SHPP, while the activists damage the good will of the company and intimidate villagers.
On 17 November EcoLur’s working group visited Martz Village to survey whether the villagers support or oppose to the SHPP. Out of 15 questioned only two people were for the SHPP, as they were sure they would be employed at the SHPP. Five people didn’t want to answer this question. “By intimidating they want to show that all the villagers agree, but nobody agrees. They want to go forward through intimidating…” the villagers said. The question how the SHPP will affect on the living of the villagers, except two abovementioned the others mentioned its operation would make the situation worse. “So many SHPPs have been constructed, but we don’t even have normal energy supply, even sometimes the light is cut off…the price for electricity has gone up and it doesn’t matter for me whether the SHPP is constructed.” The question whether they replied to the public hearings, 6 people out of the surveyed mentioned they had taken part in the public hearings, but their opinions were taken into consideration.
The village expressed its position on 12 March 2013 during the public hearings of the SHPP project, when the opposed to the construction of the SHPP (see the video by EcoLur http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcXdFEUfc5g ). The residents had even organized a signature collection, where 280 out of 350 villagers with right to vote put their signatures. Their patience was finally exhausted when the company brought the pipes designed for the SHPP to the village, when 60-70 villagers threw them to the rivers (http://www.ecolur.org/en/news/water/martz-residents-threw-pipes-for-martziget-v-1-shhp-into-gorge/4841/).
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.
14:09 November 28, 2013