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Public Hearing on the Draft of Reconstruction of High-Voltage Transmission Lines in Vanadzor and Alaverdi

With the support of Vanadzor and Aaverdi Aarhus Centers public hearings were held on January 14, in Vanadzor Regional Administration and on January 15, in the Municipality of Alaverdi on design stage of the Electricity Transmission Network Improvement Project on planning restructuration of high-voltage transmission lines of “Lori” (220 kV), Tumanyan-1 (110 kV) and Tumanyan- 2 (110 kV) situated in Lori region.
The program will be implemented the “High Voltage Electric Networks” CJSC, funded by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, within the framework of which have been developed the project’s environmental impact assessment report in accordance

with the World Bank requirements and the resettlement policy framework.

Steffen Schülein, specialist of “Fichtner” company in both two hearings presented the participants of discussions the preliminary draft, highlighting all the comments and suggestions in finalizing the process.

He also assured that the public interest is the priority of their course of action; therefore, they’ve tried to bypass residential houses or buildings, adding that they’re ready to calculate with a methodology developed in advance and adequately compensate for those lands or buildings, which situated on the road of reconstructing high-voltage transmission lines. (As we have learned about the methodology of calculation of compensation, such as in case of gardens is taken into account existence of trees, the number, age, is the garden cultivated or not, then the coefficient is multiplied by the number of the years needed to create such a garden).

In Vanadzor Steffen Schülein presented to the deputy governor, the heads of departments of regional administrations, community leaders, coordinator of the Aarhus Center and representatives of NGOs participating in hearings the project’s environmental and social part, aiming to inquire what problems may occur as at the preliminary stage, both in the future and ask them to notify at all cases.

Participants raised questions especially regarding the line passing through Gulagarak reserve. The speakers informed that the new line will be passed through the old area, so additional trees will not be cut down, just will be cleansed the approach roads.

On the issue concerning the fate of the dismantled old towers the speakers informed that those will be stored in order to use the metals again later.

A. Darbinyan, deputy Regional Governor of Lori noticed that in the draft is missing information about logging trees, those storage and recovery. Despite the oral comments, attendees asked to include these issues in the draft.

The deputy governor also noted that in such cases, most of the questions and problems are arising in the future: during the construction and operation processes and stressed the importance of further cooperation.
Alaverdi public hearings were attended by community leaders, professionals, civil servants and the Aarhus Center coordinator. A number of issues were raised around which a discussion was stirred up. The issues were specifically related to the detailed presentation of specific areas through maps, possible electricity cutoff in communities during dismantling works and the schedule and involvement of the affected and non-affected communities in the program and soil types changes.

There also referred to the problem of deforestation: on what basis it will be carried out and how will be the fate of the trees, a question was raised about carrying out restorative tree plantings in those communities as prescribed by the law. The heads of communities were also interested how will affect the long lasting magnetic effect, for example, on people working in the fields, but a concrete response concerning this issue has not been sounded due to the lack of appropriate scientific reasoning. The participants of public hearings were also interested who would ensure the future consistency and control.

The speakers urged to promote public monitoring, in order to avoid possible social and environmental unwanted consequences.

The participants expressed their satisfaction for providing information on the preliminary stage, expressed willingness to support in the project objectives regarding the communities.

Anush Evoyan
Coordinator of Alaverdi Aarhus Center
E-mail: info_alaverdi@aarhus.am, anushevoyan@rambler.ru
Perch Bojukyan
Coordinator of Vanadzor Aarhus Center
E-mail: info_vanadzor@aarhus.am, bojukyanp@mail.ru
Translated by Anush Beybutyan