REFUGEES STRANGLED BY COMMUNAL UTILITY TAXES
19 April, 2012
REFUGEES STRANGLED BY COMMUNAL UTILITY TAXES

 

For the fourth year the refugees, who were ousted from their own houses, are trying to turn the place of their communal habitat into a real paradise. They started with planting of trees. It’s true that the new plantations are a far cry from the gardens that they were forced to leave in the Liakhvi gorge but still they look at every bud, blossom or fruit with hope. They look after a shred of soil with the same diligence as

they used to do with hectares of land till that sinister 2008.

 

 

About 2000 families ousted from the Liakhvi gorge and Akhalgori live in Tserovani. It’s the biggest settlement of refugees. Those who’ve been given shelter here think that the authorities are trying to gradually ‘forget’ about them – at first they stopped supply of provision, then demanded paying for gas and now subsidizing for electricity has been terminated. The refugees who have neither job, nor stable income or land to work on and sell the gained harvest are hardly able to pay even for thriftily consumed electricity; despite this, the supply of current is terminated due to the unpaid bills… Some time ago the President visited the new greenhouse in Tserovani and the refugees wanted to meet him but the guard didn’t allow them even to approach him. ‘Only 8 women work in the hothouse but they announced on TV that dozens of working places were available’, - declare the refugees, who hope that through us they’ll manage to attract the attention of the chief administrator of the country.

‘Ask any family, what have they got for dinner – nothing… Even gravy with macaroni has become scarce’, says one of the housewives opening the door of an empty frig.

Lali Tskitishvili, a refugee from Akhalgori: ‘Only one bulb is lit and once a week I switch on the stove to bake bread. Frig and TV are on. Very seldom I iron my child’s school uniform. Last month I had to pay GEL 59 for the electricity. We spent two days and nights in darkness. My monthly income is GEL 78 – social assistance for three members of the family paid by the government. How can I feed two children with that sum of money?’

Galina Vakhtangishvili, a refugee from Eredvi: ‘There was no gas during the whole winter, so somewhere I found a discarded stove, collected some wood and thus we survived the winter. In Georgian-Ossetian conflict of 1992 my 18-year-old son was shot by a sniper. When I lived in Eredvi, as a mother of the son, killed in action, I used to get an aid – GEL 44 a month. After I moved here, they stopped paying  this compensation. Does it matter when a serviceman died – in the 2008 conflict or during the 1992 military actions?! Nobody cares a button. Nobody has ever asked whether we need something. Have everybody doomed us to death?!’

Survey results:

The coalition ‘Refugees’ Rights’ made a survey – ‘Are the social and political rights of refugees protected?’ 58.5% gave negative answer; according to 27.2% - their rights are not fully protected and only 14.2% think that their rights are protected.

 

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