Thursday, 28 October 2010

Gas shortages concern population in Andijan Region most - – With winter approaching gas shortages have become the most favourite topic in Andijan Region. The region’s main newspapers have also joined the discussion.

The Russian-language Andijanskaya Pravda newspaper carried an interview with Kodirjon Rahmonov, the head of the local gas-supply company Vodiygaztaminot, who said that his company supplied gas to 1,126 wholesale customers and over 73,000 households.

He said that his company had planned to overhaul 2.5 km of gas pipelines and this work was under way. His company painted 1,135 gas-distribution boxes and 6.5 km of pipes, he said.

However, the painting exercise will not increase the gas-supply network’s capacity in any way, specialists say.

The company’s important measure to prepare for the winter was to clean gas pipelines with compressed air from gasoline which has clogged up pipes that were laid 60 years ago.

The company is incurring significant losses of gas because most pipes have rusted, but its head did not touch this problem in the interview.

Instead, he said that residents of Andijan had consumed gas worth about 15 billion sums ($6.8m) in the first seven months of this year but paid only 3.4 billion sums ($1.5m) for it.

Locals say that many neighbourhoods have not been supplied gas for months because of arrears households have accumulated on gas bills.

The gas-supply company complains that some households connect to the network and withdraw gas from it illegally and that its inspectors turn a blind eye to this problem after they receive bribes.

The situation with gas supplies may improve in Andijan Region after the Uzbek president adopted a resolution measures to develop utilities infrastructure in the region in 2011-2015 and allocated 1,068.3 billion sums ($480m) for them.

Under these measures, the regional administration plans to spend about 3 billion sums ($1.4m) on building 72 km of gas pipelines in rural areas.

Residents of Andijan Region are continuing to receive gas bills, even though, they say, it has not been supplied to them regularly. In order to survive in winter they are now stockpiling alternative fuels.