“Environmental Issues and Proposed Solutions in the Pre-Election Programs of the Political Forces”: Discussion
The rapid pace and massive development of mining industry already have catastrophic consequences on the environment. The environmental problems are vivid in Akhtala, Alaverdi, and Syunik.

There is no measures towards the restoration of environmental harms, as well as transparent and responsible mining industry.

Vahagn Khachatryan, MP candidate, “Armenian National Congress-PP” alliance, and Harutyun Babayan, MP candidate, “Yelq” alliance, shared with their program approaches during the discussion at Media Center on March 21. 

Representatives of other political forces were also invited to the discussion entitled “Environmental Issues and Proposed Solutions in the Pre-Election Programs of the Political Forces” but they either refused the invitation or confirmed their participation and did not come with different reasons.

“There is no responsible mining industry in Armenia the supervision over the environment is very weak. The following idea domains, that if there is a mine the ore should be taken and sold. There is no long-term strategy and objective, what state, economy and environment will be left for the future generations,” Vahagn Khachatryan said adding that the current issues are due to two factors.

“First, there is a legislative gap, the legislative regulations are weak and the pitfalls are many. Besides, the legislators, most of MPs, as well as regional governors and ministers are the owners of the mines and are interested in ruthless and maximum exploitation,” he said.    

Harutyun Babayan agreed with the assessments of the ANC representative adding that there is a “gangster” situation in the mining industry.   

“And it has become a top priority to find mines and rapidly exploit them at any cost. When an issue about the exploitation of mines was raised, it was about 100-150 years of operation. Now, the terms have been compressed almost ten times. In other words, people want to come and pick up some space, and quickly remove the subsoil, make a profit and leave,” he said, adding that the task of the winning force of the parliamentary elections should be the prevention of this “gangster situation”.

“The objective is to prevent the gangster situation, to bring them under taxation and force them to be responsive towards the society as the earth is the property of the state and each citizen of the Republic of Armenia,” Harutyun Babayan said. 

The speakers agreed that the mining industry, endangering the environment as well as people’s health and tourism, cannot foster the development of Armenian economy. “About 8000 people work in this field and the taxes comprise 40 billion AMD annually. It is more realistic to speak about the development of agriculture and tourism in Armenia than mining industry,” Vahagn Khachatryan concluded.To watch the video, follow the link.  

Arshaluys Mghdesyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”

To contact the author please send an email to arshaluismghdesyan@pjc.am.

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