If Yerevan City Hall declares Antsum-1 (“pass” or “crossing”) CJSC — which has proposed 455 million drams (about $1 million 214 thousand USD) to revive the Abovyan-Koryun pedestrian underpass — as the winner of the tender, then the vendors working in the underground passage are preparing to block all entrances to the underpass and wait for that “best and wealthy man.”
This group of vendors, who might soon be prohibited from trading in the underpass, was protesting outside city hall on Monday. Note, these vendors primarily sell flowers, clothes and foodstuffs.
City hall has announced a tender for that area, and bids by three applicants have been made: Getnantsum (“underground passage”) CJSC, which was established by the traders themselves, who have offered 255 million drams (about $680,327 USD); the 455 million drams proposed by Antsum-1 CJSC; and a businessman by the name of Ashot Ohanyan (pictured below), who has offered 400 million drams (about $1 thousand 67 thousand USD).
Protestors told Epress.am that they will “fight till the end.”
“Definitely we’ll take them to court; we won’t leave it in this rudimentary way — how would [you feel if] one day they come to your house and say we are going to renovate and you won’t be living here anymore. We won’t give in; we will continue till the end. We have already prepared the documents: contracts, receipts, our expenses. About six months ago, they came from city hall, they said if you gather 22 million drams [about $58,700 USD] we’ll renovate it. We gathered it, gave it to city hall for them to renovate, and they promised us they would extend our contracts, but they came and made an insignificant change — what they did definitely did not cost 22 million. And now they say, what renovation is this? But they’re the ones who did it. Now it’s the other version of the racket [fraudulent scheme]; they’ve put out an auction. If they’re selling it, we can buy it, renovate it how it should be. We know that if someone comes, he’s from their entourage,” one protestor, a 35-year-old man, told the Epress.am correspondent on the scene.
Also speaking to Epress.am was Gagik Badalyan, another trader in the underpass, who said that if a decision was made not in their favor, they are preparing to take extreme measures.
“I can’t say what decision will be made tomorrow, but if it’s decided suddenly that Antsum-1 has won — I haven’t decided this, we’ve all decided it — we will close the underpass from all sides and stay in the underpass, wait and see who is the best and richest man in Armenia who wants to deprive people of their livelihood,” he said.
The winner of the tender is set to be announced on Tuesday.