Kaladze’s Weekly Priorities: Remembering the War, New Bus Tender Awarded

Tbilisi’s municipal government held its weekly meeting at Tbilisi City Hall on Wednesday, opening with a minute of silence in memory of those who lost their lives and homes during the 2008 August War 10 years ago this week.

Before turning to municipal business, Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze remarked on the tragic events of the August 2008 War, which he called “the most tragic even of our country’s recent history.”

“Tragic in its consequences, scale, and undertaking, the country has not yet been able to cope with the aftermath, and of course, will not be able to until Georgia's final reunification. More than two decades have passed since the first large-scale military intervention and aggression by the Russian Federation, which killed many people, including civilians. A new stream of IDPs [internally displaced persons] in our homeland has emerged, who have not lost hope for peaceful coexistence with Abkhazian and Ossetian citizens,” said Kaladze.

Leading into the minute of silence, Kaladze said, “The enemy is strong, but the desire to unite the country is stronger. Nothing can destroy our belief in unity. This war, together with the greatest tragedy and pain, reflects heroism and devotion. It is our duty to immortalize these people.”

The first item on the regular agenda was to announce that the tender for the procurement of new buses had been awarded to Tegeta Truck and Bus. For a total of 45 million GEL ($18 mil), the company will deliver 90 new public buses to the capital within nine months of the contract’s conclusion.

Kaladze explained, "I have repeatedly said that upgrading public transport is very important and one of the main priorities of our team. A few days ago, we presented our transport policy, a vision of what will be done over the next few years. You know that in 2018-2019, the buses will be fully renovated and yellow buses will be completely replaced, as they are a serious discomfort for the city and for passengers.”

Kaladze then emphasized the ongoing infrastructural projects in the city, including the newly begun construction of a two-pronged highway overpass beginning at the crossing of Marshall Gelovani Avenue and Sarajishvili Street. The project is designed to significantly unload traffic in the Vashlijvari area and increase traffic flow between the Saburtalo and Dighomi districts. Road construction work is planned to last six months and cost approximately 4.5 million GEL ($1.8 mil), allocated from Tbilisi’s city budget. Roadwork will continue 24/7, and Kaladze apologized to Tbilisi residents for the discomfort the construction may cause.

The Mayor praised the efforts of the Urban Development Service. Created in April, the Urban Development Service was inundated with a backlog of nearly 800 applications and the workforce of the division could not keep up. "Last week, the Urban Development Service completed work on all overdue and ongoing applications...This service is vital in ensuring that overdue permits are no longer an issue for the construction sector. The companies had to wait for months, causing serious discomfort. This is also bad for the economy, as construction is one of the main reasons for economic growth. We will give maximum support from our side to ensure the proper urban development of the city,” said Kaladze. Three weeks ago, the Service had a remaining backlog of 200 applications.

The Mayor also announced that 42 vehicles belonging to City Hall have been removed from the fleet for failure to meet technical requirements, and there is a plan to replace them with new, ecologically clean vehicles.

"From July 1, state and municipal transport vehicles became subject to compulsory technical examinations...On my instruction, all City Hall’s vehicles were checked,” said Kaladze. He previously said that of the more than 500,000 cars in the city, more than 50% of them are in critical condition. The new regulations on emissions will come into force for private vehicles on January 1, 2019 and “will help to improve existing environmental conditions,” Kaladze promised.

Finally, Georgian director and playwright Robert Sturua was congratulated on his 80th birthday. "I want to congratulate you on this date with great love and respect. I wish you health and longevity...the capital city is fortunate to have distinct people, whose activities and creations have made the city's day-to-day life special and exciting,” Kaladze said as he presented Sturua with a certificate of contribution to the development of Georgian culture.

By Samantha Guthrie

09 August 2018 19:11