Village for resettlers. "Kazakhstanskaya Pravda", July 28, 2016

One hundred houses are being built in a new microdistrict, Araltal, a few kilometres from Aksai the administrative center of the Burlin district and Karachaganak oil and gas condensate field, for resettlers from Berezovka and Bestau.

To remind: Nov 2014 a few pupils in the school of Berezovka felt unwell simultaneously. Various versions were put forward but numerous inspections and investigations carried out by the republican intergovernmental commission did not find any link between these incidents and the field operations. Nevertheless, the situation was taken under the RoK Government’s and local authorities’ control. It was discussed at meetings with the village residents. KPO b.v. leadership was sincerely concerned with health of the affected children. As by that time KPO had completed the economic and technical evaluation of the Karachaganak project expansion, whereby the sanitary protection zone (SPZ) around the field was to be increased,   the RoK Government made a decision to resettle Berezovka and Bestau villages that fell within the new SPZ. 

The villagers were explained that regular environmental monitoring conducted at and around the field had not identified harmful substances or any other pollutants resulting from KPO operations in any of the settlements located along the SPZ perimeter. Such monitoring is carried out using the latest methodologies to collect, analyse and control data. Air samples are taken both within the villages and outside the SPZ. The local population is regularly made aware of the findings obtained.

Pursuant to the governmental resolution, the local authorities are responsible for resettlement whereas KPO acts as a customer and covers all expenses. There are two rules the KPO strictly follows in its activities – high quality and safety standards. Therefore, the primary goal was set from the very beginning – all works related to resettlement have to be conducted in accordance with Kazakhstan legislation and international standards. This means that each family is to be provided with equal or better provisions in their new homes.

The special commission set up to deliver this task comprises reps from the local akimat and maslikhat, KPO, and public organizations. The commission primarily focused on the residents’ interests and opinions. To ensure this they conducted polls among the villagers by engaging the Sundj center. This is one of the largest firms in Kazakhstan that works with international organizations, state agencies, NGOs and provides services to the business. This is a professional team of researchers and analysts that reliably established, which of the offered options, was selected by each family. Some opted for apartments in Aksai, others – detached houses with land plots to keep leading their rural life.

The resettlement process is divided into 2 stages.  At stage 1, 82 families whose members fall under socially vulnerable group of population moved to Aksai. These are veterans, invalids of 1st and 2nd groups, as well as families of those whose children were affected in Nov 2014. These groups were given the primary right of choice. The whole process was thoroughly monitored to ensure its complete transparency. The resettlers were explained what rights they had, how the dwelling area and compensation size were calculated. These are the following provisions. The apartments provided are not smaller than their previous houses. The allotment is based on that each family member receives a minimum of 15sq.m. If the household is big then the new dwelling is more spacious too. Wishes to get separate accommodations were also taken into account, e.g., parents and their adult married children. Plus resettlement allowances, compensation for outbuilding constructions, fruit trees and land plots were also provided. Such compensations are calculated by an independent evaluator for each household.

To make everything crystal clear, six information booklets were issued. Burlin Akimat and KPO arranged open door days for villagers of Bestau and Berezovka attended by international consultants. Any resident could address the commission with any question and get a full feedback.

New occupants of the first two residential blocks of apartments are quite happy with quality of their homes. Burlin authorities provided transportation for them to move. The apartments are equipped with gas heaters and stoves, kitchen furniture. Balcones are glassed, yards are well-designed. A school and kindergarten are nearby. Stage 2 concept provides for construction in Aksai of another 2 blocks of apartments in Karachaganak-1 micro-region and 3- and 4-room houses with land plots and outbuildings in Araltal micro-region. The houses will be as comfortable as the urban apartments.

One hundred houses is actually a micro-region or new village for resettlement. The houses will be hooked to utilities: gas, electricity, water. It is planned to build a road, kindergarten in Karachaganak-1 and school in Araltal micro-region. The civil works in Araltal are underway. Two companies – Marasant and Stroitelnaya Initiativa – are engaged in construction. It is to note that KPO has engaged only domestic companies to implement construction projects. The customer keeps an eye not only on quality but also on schedules.

The location for new houses was thoroughly selected and, in KPO’s opinion, quite successfully. Aksai is at stone’s throw. This is convenient for those who will decide to work in the city. At the same time one could start agricultural business. Each house sits on a decare which is enough both for kitchen garden and household plot. According to Darkhan Kuzenbayev Head Marasan Ltd, the customer provided all conditions to deliver the efficient works.

Stage 2 will also provide for cash compensation for those who had their own business and farming. Local authorities will assist with employment of the resettlers.

By Lyudmila KORINA