The past year 2006 in Tajikistan was especially rich in various cultural and political events. The country celebrated two anniversaries - the 2700th anniversary of Kulyab and the 15th anniversary of the independence of Tajikistan, the Year of the Aryan civilization was celebrated, and presidential elections were held.
Considerable state funds were allocated for all these activities. An employee of the Ministry of Finance said that in 2006, allocations of the republican budget for mass cultural and social events were almost doubled, from 28 to 46 million somoni ($ 8 and $ 14 million, respectively). And in the new, 2007, they were again increased and make up 56.1 million somoni ($ 13 million). “These costs are much higher than the state budget allocations for health and agriculture, the state of which leaves much to be desired,” he said.
Already in the middle of the year, city residents noted unusually high prices in the markets and in stores. Potatoes, carrots, fruits and berries went up in 2 times, imported products - from 20 to 50 percent, although earlier in the summer, prices on the contrary were falling. And it was not the limit.
On the eve of the holidays - the New Year and the Muslim holiday Qurbon, prices for almost all types of goods again sharply increased. The greatest increase was observed on products and necessities. The price of bread has increased by 20% and amounts to 70 diras (about 20 cents), a flat cake or a loaf of bread costs 80 dirams (23 cents). Residents complain that while their weight has decreased markedly. Experts explain this rise in price by interruptions in electricity and gas shortages.
An upset resident of Dushanbe, Mukaddas Nasyrova says: “I always save money in advance for holiday expenses. But this year, already on the eve of the holiday, prices for some products have doubled. Flour, eggs, candy, butter, and even local potatoes cost the same price as imported tangerines. This has never happened. But after the holidays, prices will not fall, but will remain at this unjustified level. Why doesn't anyone care? ”
Government officials, responding to outraged questions from residents, explain that trade and bread production in the capital, as well as other cities, are in private hands, and the state has no opportunity to influence them.
Economist Frida Genkel expressed indignation: “According to reports of the State Statistics Committee, in Tajikistan the rise in food prices is 13, 9%. I don’t understand how the statistics calculate inflation, because the prices for everything are growing absolutely, at once by 50 percent or more. ”
Ekaterina Morozova echoes her: “This winter is very cold, the frost reaches 12 degrees, and in our neighborhood we have long forgotten about the existence of heating. Often turn off the electricity, and gas is served only for 2-3 hours per day. The apartments are constantly cold, they can not be heated. Fuel for kerosene costs about a dollar per liter, and it is very expensive for our family. ”
According to the workers of the Dushanbe CHP, they need about 230 cubic meters of gas and 25 thousand tons of fuel oil to heat the capital. In fact, approximately one-fifth of the required gas and half of the necessary fuel oil are emitted. “But the work of the CHP can bring income if the payments for heating and hot water are well organized,” says economist Frida Genkel. “Why does none of the mayors care about maintaining people's health?”
An outlet to this frosty winter could be the supply of coal to citizens living in private houses and the rural population. After all, its reserves in Tajikistan are huge and amount to more than 4 billion tons. And it costs relatively cheap - from 33.2 to 115 somoni ($ 10– $ 26) per ton. In the mountain gorge, only 70 km. from the capital and in the middle of the densely populated Gissar Valley there is a coal mining company, Koni Angishti Ziddi, which can provide coal to this region. But in order to run it at full capacity, you need about more than $ 2 million. The leadership of the Ministry of Energy is waiting for foreign investment, without which, allegedly, it is impossible to do so. In the meantime, its production decreased by 3 thousand tons, and with the onset of the early November cold weather, coal prices increased by 20%. Coal in Tajikistan has the same deficit, despite the fact that there are 14 coal-mining enterprises in Tajikistan.
“The leadership of the State Unitary Enterprise" Tajikgas "constantly insists on debts owed to Uzbek suppliers, because of which it cannot provide regular gas supplies. Gas is supplied to the population for 1.5-2 hours in the morning and in the evening. Permanent gas shutoffs and gas inclusions lead to gas explosions, numerous burns and death. Why the state, allocating huge funds for holding anniversaries and holidays, cannot find money to buy gas, at least in winter? ”, Akram Mirzoyev, a veteran of labor, is indignant.
The leadership of Tajikgaz also cites huge amounts of public debt due to poor supply. Residents of Dushanbe, in turn, express bewilderment: “Tajik gas inspectors cut gas supply pipes to non-payers, and it is almost impossible to use gas with debts.” An employee of the Ministry of Economy says: “From year to year we hear from power engineers that energy is becoming more expensive, and there is no way to provide the population with heat and electricity. The thermal power plant in Dushanbe operates at less than half of its capacity, ostensibly due to a lack of funds for the purchase of gas and fuel oil, and people are freezing and getting sick. Was it really not possible to find $ 100 thousand, which, according to the housing and utilities workers, are necessary for the purchase of fuel, because forecasters predicted a frosty winter long ago? ”
Meanwhile, according to Shukurdzhon Zukhurov, Minister of Labor and Social Protection of the Population, the average monthly nominal wage is only about 130 somoni ($ 37). According to the same department, the subsistence minimum at the beginning of the year was 205 somoni. By the end of the year, this amount increased to almost 300 somoni. These data usually do not lead journalists at press conferences and in their reports to the heads of departments, citing the absence of a law in Tajikistan on the subsistence minimum. But Tajikistan is the only country in the CIS in which this law is not adopted. Apparently, officials do not want anybody to hear this striking separation of what is necessary from the existing.
A resident of the Kanibadam district said that they have almost no electricity for two months. “In Soviet times, we were brought gas in cylinders, it was possible to buy coal, there was always light. Now this is nothing. We had to cut down all the deciduous trees around the house for firewood. I was very sorry to do this, because in the summer we will suffer from unbearable heat, but there was no other way out. The house must be warm, otherwise we will all be sick. "
To the delight of the people of Tajikistan, at the end of January the frosts subsided, and then the air temperature rose to +10 degrees. But the country's media warned that the power industry will impose an even more severe restriction on the supply of electricity. And every resident wonders: will it be possible to live to heat in cold apartments and offices, besides saving money on food, and at the same time stay healthy?