16:44, Friday, 24.05.2019
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Residents of the ABL villages request the status of mountainous villages


Lado Bitchashvili, Shida Kartli

On September 24, representatives of the nongovernmental organization Human Rights Center visited the villages Dvani and Knolevi in Kareli municipality, which are located alongside the occupation line; they learned the situation of the local inhabitants.

As the residents of both villages state, their major problem is lack of drinking and irrigation water. The problem of migration is very obvious on the 10th anniversary of the 2008 Russian-Georgian War. Mostly young people leave the villages that significantly affected the reduced number of children in kindergartens and public schools. Most of the houses, burnt during the August War, are not restored yet. 

The residents of the ABL villages asked the HRC representatives to help them in getting the status of mountainous region to Dvani and Knolevi. The locals already petitioned the commission with this request but the commission answered that their villages do not meet the criteria of the mountainous settlements. 

“They said the village shall be located 800 meters above the sea level to get the status of the mountainous village; they said neither Dvani nor Knolevi meet this criteria,” the locals said. 

HRC representative Ucha Nanuashvili said, the commission shall take the location of the villages close to the occupation line into account as well as the living conditions of the locals. Nanuashvili promised the residents of Knolevi and Dvani that the organization will study the issue and find out the arguments of the commission based on which they refused the village to grant the status of mountainous settlements.
Kareli municipality governor Zaza Guliashvili said neither Dvani nor Knolevi meet the criteria of the mountainous settlements. 

“We even petitioned to the Ministry of Infrastructure and requested the status for Knolevi village but the commission decided that Knolevi does not meet the criteria set for the status. As for Dvani, the commission did not consider its case at all, as the village did not fall under any criteria at all,” the municipality governor said.

HRC Shida Kartli office lawyer said they already started working on the issue,
“We have petitioned the administration of the Shida Kartli regional governor and requested information whether they had addressed the National Council on Mountain Development with the request to grant status of mountainous settlements to the abovementioned villages and based on which argument they were refused to receive the status. The locals said they could not receive the status because the villages are not located high enough above the sea-level. However, the government of Georgia can grant the status considering other criteria like the conditions of infrastructure in the village, lack of agricultural land, demographic location regardless the fact it is located high enough above the sea level. The ABL villages shall receive the status considering this situation in order to assist the locals to feel support from the state. Having received the requested information, we will petition the regional governor’s administration and Kareli municipality administration to raise the issue of granting the status to Dvani and Knolevi in front of the Government of Georgia and the Council,” Lekso Merebashvili said.

The law of Georgia on the development of mountainous regions offers number of social benefits to the inhabitants of the villages with the status. Among them is supplement to the pension and state subsidies on communal bills. 

Considering the social benefits envisaged for the mountainous villages the residents of Dvani and Knolevi request the status for their villages to stop migration. 

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