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On 4 September 2013, at the plenary session of the Georgian Parliament, the Chkhorotsku Region Majoritarian MP from the United National Movement, Vakhtang Lemonjava, declared:  “I must spell out the issue of gasification in three municipalities of Samegrelo (Martvili, Tsalenjikha and Chkhorotsku). I also raised this issue during the meeting of the Minister of Energy of Georgia with minority communities. The Minister of Energy declared that he has not encountered these projects when he came to the Ministry. The project of gasification should continue by all means. In 2010, a total of 84,000 users received gas. In 2011, this number was 120,000 users while in 2013 it comprises only 25,000-30,000. What is the reason for such a downfall? In addition, other infrastructural projects have also been suspended in the [Samegrelo] Region, for example, in the Chkhorotsku Municipality [in terms of a] four-kilometre segment of the Mukhuri-Taia paved road and the construction of the Mongiri-Akhuti road.”

FactCheck

became interested in the aforementioned statement and tried to check the truthfulness of the facts.

First of all, we enquired whether or not the process of gasification was planned in the municipalities of Martvili, Tsalenjikha and Chkhorotsku. The website of the Ministry of Energy of Georgia displays the gasification plan for 2013-2014. According to the plan, a total of 65,401 households will be provided with gas in 2013. The Tsalenjikha and Chkhorotsku Municipalities are not presented in the gasification plan of 2013-2014.

In order to better understand the subject, we addressed the Ministry of Energy of Georgia with an official request to provide the gasification plan for the three aforementioned municipalities of Samegrelo for 2011-2013. According to the response received from the Ministry on 17 September, in 2011-2013 gasification procedures were not carried out in Tsalenjikha and Chkhorotsku. Furthermore, these municipalities have not even been included in the gasification plan for 2013-2014. According to the same letter, the process of gasification is in progress only in the Martvili Municipality. The total number of users supplied with gas in the abovementioned municipality comprises 3,015 (in 2011-2013). In 2013, 2,414 more users will be provided with gas. The Ministry of Energy of Georgia also provided the quantity of users/households gasified in certain villages of the Martvili Municipality:

Location

01.01.2011

01.01.2012

01.01.2013

01.09.2013

Martvili

153

670

2,349

2,349

Khuntsi

-

416

416

416

Didi Chkoni

-

200

250

250

Total

153

1,286

3,015

3,015

An additional list of the 2,414 users of the Martvili Municipality who will be provided with gas by the end of 2013 appears in the table below. lem

As shown in the table above, the process of gasification has started in the Martvili Municipality, however, the number of gasified users for the period 1 January 2013 to 1 September 2013 remains the same (3,015). This means that no new users have been provided gas since January 2013 although the information of the Ministry of Energy of Georgia indicates that 2,414 additional users should be gasified by the end of 2013.

On 16 December we contacted the Governor of the Martvili Municipality, Mamuka Danelia, and requested information relevant to the gasification process. According to his statement, only 265 users were gasified in the Martvili Municipality and the village of Khuntsi. The Governor admitted that in 2013 the process of gasification is being carried out at a slower pace and the Municipality intends to enquire with Socar about the reasons (the gasification process in the Martvili Municipality is being conducted by Socar Energy Georgia).

In order to find out whether or not the gasification process in ongoing in Chkhorotsku and Tsalenjikha, we addressed the Chkhorotsku and Tsalenjikha Municipalities and requested information relevant to the gasification process. Based upon their responses, the process of gasification in the Chkhorotsku Municipality is planned for 2015 while the exact date for the work to start in the case of the Tsalenjikha Municipality is not yet known.

Vakhtang Lemonjava highlights the slow pace of the gasification process in 2013 and presents the statistical data of the previous years as an argument.

FactCheck

requested information about the number of gasified users for 2010-2013 from the Ministry of Energy of Georgia. The Ministry submitted the number of users provided with gas in 2010-2013 as follows:

lem1

According to the abovementioned information, the number of gasified users in 2013 has significantly reduced as compared to the previous years. Consequently, despite the fact that Lemonjava does not name the correct numbers, this part of his statement is in fact true.

As for the MP’s statement in respect to the suspended infrastructural projects in the Chkhorotsku Municipality [that is; the construction of the Mukhuri-Taia and Mongiri-Akhuti roads], we addressed the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia to verify this information and withdraw the plan of completed or suspended infrastructural projects in Chkhorotsku in 2012-2013.

According to the information received from the Ministry, the following infrastructural projects were planned in the Chkhorotsku Municipality for 2012-2013:

  1. Rehabilitation of the internal drainage network of the town of Chkhorotsku. The project was completed in 2011. Budget – GEL 582,148.58
  2. Reconstruction of the landfill and landfill road in the Chkhorotsku Municipality. The project was completed in 2012. Budget – GEL 340,261.00
  3. Construction of the Mukhuri-Taia and Mongiri-Akhuti roads. Date of completion – 2013. Budget – GEL 3,613,540

According to the information of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia, the infrastructural projects in the Chkhorotsku Municipality have not been suspended.

In order to further clarify the issue, we addressed the Chkhorotsku Municipality directly, as well. Based upon their information, the Mongiri-Akhuti and Mukhuri-Taia roads are being paved on the territory of the Municipality. The total costs of the abovementioned project comprise GEL 3,613,540. The letter does not provide any information about the construction being suspended. We contacted the same Municipality by telephone and specified whether or not the construction is in progress. According to the response we received, the paving process of the Mongiri-Akhuti road has already been completed while the construction of the Mukhuri-Taia road is still in progress.

Conclusion

Currently, the programme of gasification is being carried out only in one, i.e., Martvili, of three municipalities (Martvili, Tsalenjikha and Chkhorotsku) of the Samegrelo Region. Nevertheless, no users were gasified in the period from January to September 2013. According to the information of the Ministry of Energy of Georgia, 2,414 more users will be gasified by the end of the year. By 16 December, only 265 users were gasified. The process of gasification is not planned in the Tsalenjikha and Chkhorotsku Municipalities for 2013-2014. The process will be initiated in the Chkhorotsku Municipality in 2015. Based upon the information of the Ministry of Energy of Georgia, this plan may be modified during the year and those municipalities not included in the gasification plan before can be also included. According to the information we obtained, the infrastructural projects in the Chkhorotsku Municipality have not been suspended. The construction of the Mongiri-Akhuti road is completed while the Mukhuri-Taia road is currently in progress.

As for the total number of gasified users in 2013, as compared to the data of the previous years, it has in fact decreased. According to the information of the Ministry of Energy, the slow pace of the process has been determined by a number of objective factors although we were not provided with any concrete information about these so-called objective factors and, currently, the process of gasification is being carried out even in those municipalities that were left off of the official list.

Based on the information obtained, we can conclude that the statement of Vakhtang Lemonjava:  “The process of gasification is not being carried out in three municipalities of Samegrelo and the construction of the Mukhuri-Taia and Mongiri-Akhuti roads is suspended,” is HALF TRUE.