MINSK, 26 April (BelTA) - The decisions to develop the regions affected by the Chernobyl disaster have proved to be right, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said on 26 April as he heard out the report on the progress made in overcoming the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster, BelTA has learned.
The president noted that he always visited the affected regions on the anniversary of the Chernobyl tragedy. This time however he decided to hear out the reports on the development of these territories in Minsk. The president explained that the weather conditions were not good yet. This was the main reason for postponing his working trip to these regions.
“We will of course implement the program that has been planned at the presidential level, but we will do it a little later,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “I would like today, before going there, to get information on how the plans we have outlined and the instructions I gave during my recent meetings with people and visits to the Chernobyl regions are being implemented.”
A block of social matters is the number one issue, the head of state said. After all, no matter how successfully the affected territories are developing today, the original problems remain in people's minds, the president explained. “What is the situation and how are social issues being addressed there?” he wondered.
“The second issue is the economy. We have done a lot to improve living conditions there. A lot of time has passed by now, more than 30 years, and we have seen that we have made the right decisions about not abandoning the vast areas of our country. People live in those cities and towns. They work well, especially in agriculture,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.
Another important issue is land reclamation and the use of this land in agriculture. “It should be done little by little, wherever possible,” the president said.
The head of state paid special attention to reforestation and wood processing. He had given the relevant instructions before.
“People are very interested in fishing, trophy hunting. We are working in this area as well. Safety measures are above all. We need to control this sector to avoid the situation: I go and hunt or fish where I want. We talked about ecological tourism, bee keeping and horse breeding. As experience and practice have shown, this business can be run there and it actually gives good results. Thus, there is a number of problems which were raised during my visits there and were addressed by certain agencies and certain people. What has been done so far? What else do we have to do there?” the president asked.
The sixth state program to mitigate the consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident is underway and will span the years of 2021-2025. Its total financing will make up almost Br1 billion. Since 1990, Belarus has spent $19.3 billion on Chernobyl program activities.
Under the sixth program, benefits and compensation payments for victims of the accident amounted to some Br164 million.
More than 84,000 people, including over 75,000 children, received treatment in rehabilitation and health-improvement centers. Modern medical equipment worth Br250,000 were purchased for children's rehabilitation centers.
Implementation of protective measures in agricultural production continues, with 1,300 km of open on-farm reclamation networks repaired and 341,400 ha of agricultural lands checked for radiation.
A total of 724 houses and apartments were connected to the gas supply system. Some 34km of gas pipelines and 17.6km of water supply networks were installed. Three deferrization stations and two artesian wells were put into operation. The program activities also include the construction of four dairy farms, four grain drying complexes and one breeding pig complex in Dobrush District.