Residents are happy with new apartments. "Kazakhstanskaya Pravda", May 14, 2016

Folk wisdom says that in order to see how safe, sturdy and comfortable a house is you need to spend winter in it. The “test period” of the apartment building, to which the people resettled from Berezovka and Bestau villages moved in last year in December, has been successful.

For the first time ever in West-Kazakhstan Oblast the residents of two villages – Bestau and Beryozovka in Burlin Region – have changed their domicile. It should be reminded that Berezovka residents had been striving for resettlement for many years.  In November 2014 several children at once felt sick in school.  Various versions of incident causes were put forward, but no interrelation between these occasions and the environmental impact of the neighbouring Karachaganak Oil Gas Condensate Field was found as a result of numerous checks performed.  However, the situation was brought under the control of the state government and local authorities.  It was repeatedly discussed at the meetings with the residents of villages.  Due to the fact that Karachaganak Petroleum Operating B.V. had completed economic and technical assessment of the Karachaganak Expansion Project that calls for increasing the size of the sanitary protection zone, the Republic of Kazakhstan Government made a decision to relocate Berezovka and Bestau villages that came within the boundary of the sanitary protection zone. 

The consortium set an immediate goal to carry out the relocation in full compliance with the RK legislation and international standards.  This is to say that not only the same, but also more comfortable conditions were to be created for each family at the new place.  The working committee which was to implement such a demanding and challenging task was formed of the representatives from the Burlin Region Akimat and Maslikhat, KPO as well as the members of public associations.  

A huge preparation work was done, explains Kairat Utegenov, Deputy Akim of Burlin Region. – We treat the interests and opinions of the villages’ residents as a top priority.  With this in mind, a public opinion survey was conducted which helped identify the preferred relocation options for each family.  Some families wished to apartments in Aksai town, which is an administrative centre of the region.  Others preferred to move to detached houses with land plots for homesteading. 

The resettlement funds were allocated by KPO.  The relocation comprises the two stages.  82 families moved in to the two apartment buildings in Aksai during the first stage.

The prior right was given to socially vulnerable groups – veterans, group I and II disabled people, families with disabled children and families with children that suffered in the school incident in November 2014.

- We understood that it was difficult for people to leave homes.  - That is why we held awareness-raising meetings with each and every family, continues Kairat Utegenov. - We explained everything in detail: their rights, the calculation provisions for living spaces and indemnity amounts.  The whole process was thoroughly controlled to ensure its complete transparency. 

The provided apartments are no smaller than the former houses.  Another reference point is 15 square meters per person.  But if a property had a larger area the new occupants were provided with more spacious apartments accordingly.  There is an indemnity payment provided for resettlement, household outbuildings, fruit trees and land plots.  The Burlin Region local authorities provided vehicles for the time of relocation.  Due consideration was given to the facts when people like parents and their adult children wished to get separate apartments. 

On the recommendation of the West-Kazakhstan Oblast Akimat and KPO the apartments were provided with gas heaters, stoves and kitchen furniture.  First of all we asked senior citizens how they were going on as new occupants since it was customary for our people to get an opinion of aksakals (elderly people).  Lidiya Petrovna Samara had worked all her life in Beryozovka as a librarian.  She knows all her fellow villagers.  Surely, it is not easy to move to a new place late in life.  But, according to her, KPO and local authorities did their best to make sure that this process was completed without any complications.  The new apartment rooms are spacious and light.  She lives with her daughter.  The apartment was warm in winter.  The yard has modern conveniences; greenery was planted.  But a villager is used to being self-reliant.  This spring Lidiya Petrovna with her neighbours planted apple trees, plum trees, cherry trees, rose hip bushes, lilac trees and willow trees at the entrances.  Besides, they laid out flower beds and pretty soon the flowers will start to bloom on them.  Surely, they don’t expect to gather fruit crop.  Most of all they want the greenery to please their eyes.

We understand that we could never buy such apartments.  For this reason we are grateful to the company management and state authorities, says Lidiya Petrovna. 

Ulin Nadyrovich Aryshev is a zootechnician by trade, but it has been a long time since he got retired.  Before the relocation he lived in a house together with his son’s family.  Now they have separate apartments that share the same stairwell.  According to the veteran, it is very convenient.  The house in Beryozovka was old and shabby.  He thinks it’s a great luck to receive an apartment with amenities in replacement.  My son worked in Aksai even before.  And regardless of the fact that Aksai is not far from Beryozovka, it is certainly much better to live near the work place.  His elder granddaughter attends school.  In January his younger granddaughter was born already at the new place of residence.  That is why, the new occupants are happy that both the school and the kindergarten are situated not far from home.  And besides, in the town it is easier to get an appointment with various doctors at the clinic.  This is not unimportant for elderly people.   

Akkenzhe Kanatbayeva lived in Bestau village.  By the time of resettlement it was represented by 30 homesteads only.  The biggest issue, she recalls, was the roads.  It happened in winter that they got blocked with snow drifts such that driving or walking was not possible.  The well water quality was far from perfect too.  Besides, there were power outages.  Now all these problems are in the past.  It is a great joy for a villager to have hot and cold water supply in an apartment with amenities.  But as rightly says the proverb: “People quickly get used to good things”.  While living in her native village Akkenzhe worked as an air sampling specialist.  KPO performs continuous monitoring over air condition within the settlements that are located along the perimeter of the protected field area.  According to Akkenzhe, there were no environmental disturbances observed during the entire time of her work.  The decision on resettlement was happy news.  Now the neighbours get together in the evening out of their rural habit and discuss their life.  The new occupants are glad that they have become townspeople. 

The second stage resettlement strategy has been developed and approved. This year two nine-storied buildings will be built in Aksai in micro-district “Karachaganak–1”. There is a plan to construct three-room and four-room houses with garden plots and household outbuildings in micro-district Araltal.  In terms of amenities they won’t be worse than the town apartments.  Construction of a road, a school and a kindergarten is also in the plan.  The second stage provides for the clear arrangements for ensuring indemnity payments to the business owners and farmers. 

 - The properties of Beryozovka and Bestau villagers were assessed by an independent company that has a license to perform such activities, says Kairat Utegenov. – The employment issues have been taken under permanent control.  It appeared that most of the new occupants that were relocated during the first stage already worked in Aksai.  I think there will be no issues with the employment of teachers and doctors during the second stage.  They are needed everywhere.  Those who will not be able to find a job on their own will be sent to take social work positions, and those who will wish to learn a new high demand trade will be sent for retraining.  Aksai grows all the time.  Therefore, the employment issues are resolved in a consistent manner.  As for the people resettling from Beryozovka and Bestau, we know that we should focus on providing adequate and comfortable life conditions to them. 

By Lyudmila KORINA