Minister of Economy Promises 5,000 Imereti Families Will Have Gas this Winter

Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Natia Turnava visited Imereti last week, and promised that by the end of the year, more than 5,000 families will have their homes connected to the country’s natural gas network.

The Georgian government is currently in the midst of implementing a three-year gasification program 2019-2021 that will bring natural gas to households in 226 settlements. Speaking to assembled guests on Friday, August 16, Turnava said “Today, I saw the works in Zestafoni and Terjola municipalities - some of the villages are already gasified and some are starting now, and we think that before the start of the winter season, these villages will also have gas.” Most families without a natural gas connection heat their homes using wood burning stoves, which produce an uneven distribution of heat, encourage illegal deforestation and increase air pollution, including inside the home.

During her visit, Turnava met with populations in several villages in the Zestaponi and Terjola municipalities and later visited the gasification work sites in the villages of Rkvia, Skande, and Shimshilakedi. She explained that 29 settlements in Imereti will be reached by the three-year gasification plan, which are inhabited by 5,150 families.

Gasification works started in the village of Rkvia, in the Zestaponi municipality, on August 16 and will be finished on October 23, reaching 158 households. The construction work to build and install 22,751 meters of gas lines is being carried out by the company Energy Invest 2009 at an estimated cost of 599,990 GEL ($205,124).

In the Shimshilakedi village of the Terjola municipality, gasification works have been ongoing since July and will be finished in next month. In total, 39 families will receive natural gas. The estimated cost of the work is 64,508 GEL ($22,054). Company LTD Mnatobi 2013 is installing 2,419 meters of gas line.

For the village of Skande, also in the Terjola municipality, gasification works began in July and will be finished in September, supplying gas to 215 households through 14,912 meters of gas line. The work, estimated to cost 383,710 GEL ($131,182), is also being conducted by LTD Mnatobi 2013.

Throughout the three-year gasification plan, more than 1.3 million households nationwide will be connected to natural gas – 85% of Georgia’s total consumer population. “At this rate we are the leading country in Europe,” said Turnava. “The gasification plan, which has been discussed and approved by the Georgian government with the involvement of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, also includes settlements where there has historically been no natural gas,” she added, as opposed to settlements where gas lines lost functionality after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the difficult times for the country in the 1990s.

State Representative in Imereti Zviad Shalamberidze, Zestaponi majoritarian MP Shalva Kiknavelidze, and representatives of local municipalities and the gas company traveled through Imereti together with Minister Turnava late last week.

On Friday, Turnava also discussed other issues of importance to the Imereti population, including the challenges the region faces and planned government projects. She listened to public complaints and responded, saying, “We are doing our utmost to provide the people, especially those living in the regions [outside Tbilisi], with all the tools to create economic prosperity and new development opportunities for you. In addition to gasification, there is talk about high-speed, fiber-optic internet, which will cover the whole of Georgia and, of course, the Imereti region. In September we are also announcing a microgrants program that will give you a real chance to turn your idea into a business or expand your existing business.”

Turnava also noted that Imereti has the potential to develop agrotourism and to set up more guesthouses. "If you choose this area of activity, the National Tourism Administration of the Ministry of Economy will assist you in properly positioning and marketing your business,” she promised.

By Samantha Guthrie

Image source: Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development

19 August 2019 17:18