Dozens of residents of the village of Goght in Armenia's Kotayk province who'd been blocking the Goght-Geghard highway since early morning demanding a stop to a controversial irrigation project agreed to unblock the road after Government officials promised to discuss the issue at Thursday's Cabinet sitting. Kotayk governor's office has also promised the villagers that construction works in Geghardalich would not be resumed, protest participant Vahram Sedrakyan told Epress.am Tuesday.
Note, the World Bank-financed construction project envisages transferring water via pipes from the Gilanlar basin to the Geghardalich reservoir from where it would be diverted to Kotayk communities, including the villages of Hatsavan, Geghadir, Jrvezh and Voghjaberd, through a gravity irrigation system.
Vachik Sahakyan, an engineer and the chief architect of the project, came out today to negotiate with the demonstrators and again insisted that the construction if the irrigation system was “definitely favourable” to the villagers. “Like it or not, the basin is in a poor condition and has to be restored,” he said.
The protesters, for their part, replied that they would agree to the project, provided that the water from the reservoir was used only by their community; they again claimed that the Geghardalich water could barely meet the requirements of Goght villagers.
“Everyone will be happy, I assure you; there will be no lands left unirrigated. There will be enough water for the 720 hectares of land in Goght,” Yura Javadyan, another official who had come to speak for the project, told the protesters.