to-forestRealistic projection

“Most communities of Syunik Marz, around 79 communities, are not provided with natural gas. Would you, please, assist these community households to obtain fuelwood for the winter at a relatively affordable price (2000 AMD per cubic meter) from Syunik Marz Forestry branches?”

The author of this letter of request or memo is Surik Khachatryan, the Governor of Syuinik Marz, and the addressee is Gerasim Alaverdyan, Minister of Agriculture. A question arises; why should the governor write such a memo pointing out the names of all the 79 communities, particularly nowadays, when media are swamped with publications on tree-felling. I wonder whether or not these publications are at all of any interest to the villagers, who have numerous problems on the eve of the winter; soon they are going to face the urgent need of solving their everyday household needs – personal hygiene, heating the house, cooking and laundry.

This is true for all the villagers, whether they live in the communities with natural gas system or in communities without gas. We want to emphasize this, because we have gas subscribers using only 1200-1500 AMD worth of gas a year in the villages that are provided with natural gas. This means that the villagers have alternative ways to solve their problems. Of course that alternative is neither electricity nor solar energy; once and again socially vulnerable villager’s hope is and will be the forest, regardless of the media publications, alarms raised by international and local environmental organizations, monitorings and researches.

And if we view this in the context of this year’s unpleasant surprise – increase in gas prices, future prospective looks even worse. The example of the Governor of Syunik is not unprecedented; a similar letter of request had been received from Tavush Marz as well. Consequently this issue requires a systematized solution of the Government. Therefore we would recommend the Governor of Syunik Marz to send his memo to the Prime Minister of Armenia within the program “Winter 2010” if, of course, our government has at all such a program this year or is seriously concerned about the forests of Armenia. Simple as it is, otherwise villagers will have to rely on their own “Winter 2010” program. And that program will offer only one solution – to the wood with saw.

Hayots Ashkharh 01.10.2010

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