ARMENPRESS Exclusive with Mayor of Stepanakert on post-war recovery programs
YEREVAN, OCTOBER 12, ARMENPRESS. Mayor of Stepanakert Davit Sargsyan spoke about the post-war recovery programs, the ongoing construction work, demographics and other issues related to the post-war life in the capital of Artsakh.
“During the war, in addition to the private sector, public facilities and multi-apartment buildings, other infrastructures were also severely affected. These infrastructures were intentionally targeted by the Azeri forces. The power network was particularly under enemy fire. Since the entire territory of the city was under constant bombardment, the transportation and lighting system, as well as the water distribution network were seriously damaged. Praise to our municipal companies and partner organizations that today the infrastructures of Stepanakert city are entirely restored. I invite everyone who has doubts to visit our city and be convinced. The city mostly overcame the material damages. There are still traces from the war in some places, but eliminating them is in process,” the Mayor told ARMENPRESS when asked about the restoration process.
The ongoing construction projects in the city are carried out with both municipal funds and state funds under capital construction programs.
ARMENPRESS: After the war many displaced families moved to Stepanakert. Did this cause any problems? What positive specificities did the population increase bring?
Mayor Sargsyan: We all realize that the displaced persons have numerous problems, ranging from accommodation to psychological issues. Indeed, respective government agencies were set up after the war to resolve these issues, but those who moved to Stepanakert are naturally applying to the city hall in many cases. We are helping as much as we can. Stepanakert is the home of every Artsakhi, therefore the government embraced all our countrymen who lost their homes. It’s just that this abrupt increase of the population was unexpected and unplanned, which led to significant overload of the city infrastructures. But I’m not complaining. I and the entire staff of city hall, as well as municipal organizations stand ready to work with multiplied diligence to resolve the problems of our affected compatriots as soon as possible. Each and every one of them brought their own individuality to Stepanakert, brought new colors to our city, making it more diverse and attractive,” Mayor Davit Sargsyan said.
City Hall is focused on developing the outskirts of the city because the proportional development of Stepanakert is a priority.
ARMENPRESS: At what stage is the renovation of the #10 school, which suffered major damages during the bombardment?
Mayor Sargsyan: Let me say that the building of this school was designated as unfit for use by experts even before the war. The condition of the building was further deteriorated after the bombardment. Thus, now the objective is to completely reconstruct it, and not simply renovate. The work will include reinforcements and raising seismic resistance levels. Major work has already been implemented. Now the process continues. Soon 10 newly reconstructed classrooms will be commissioned. Interior works are in process in one part of the building, and the roof is being replaced in another part.
The city is also planning to renovate the First Artsakh War cemetery after it recently completed the construction of a new military cemetery, officially known as the Fraternal Cemetery-Pantheon at the Stepanakert Memorial.
Asked about the Stepanakert-Yerevan relations and ties of the Artsakh capital with other cities in Armenia, the Mayor praised the ties with Yerevan and said that they highly value the cooperation. He noted that Yerevan took in many residents of Artsakh during the war, and that the Yerevan City Council provided large support for restoring and modernizing the Stepanakert infrastructure that were hit by Azeri strikes. “This cooperation still continues on various levels. We have many planned joint programs but their implementation depends on the presence of peace in both Artsakh and Armenia,” he said, adding that Stepanakert city is also cooperating with cities in Syunik, such as Kapan and Kajaran.
ARMENPRESS: What is the most pressing issue requiring solution in Stepanakert at this moment?
Mayor Sargsyan: Ensuring security is the most pressing issue, both in Stepanakert and elsewhere in Artsakh.