Notes From Hairenik
June 17, 2005
I just left the forum that was held regarding the proposed road that would go through and subsequently destroy the Shikahogh nature and wildlife reserve. As expected, the debate was heated.

According to the minister of transport and communication Andranik Manukyan, 30,000 trees would be cut from the reserve. Minister Ministry of Environmental Protection Vardan Ayvazyan naturally downplayed the extent of damage to the reserve and its surroundings. All of the proposals that were received were rejected as being economically unfeasible, since they called for the road to be stretched an additional 20 kilometers or more to avoid cutting the reserve, thereby costing millions more to construct.

The road is expected to cost around $20 million if I remember correctly-- a lot of financial figures were thrown around. However, one National Assembly representative from Meghri, whose name I did not catch but is reportedly a party member of Stepan Demirjian's oppositional People's Party of Armenia, claims that the cut timber alone is expected to be worth $60 million on the going market. He also stressed that the intented road going through Mtnadzor, the village adjacent to the reserve, is not possible and alternative route must be decided upon.

A final decision will be presented to the general public next Friday, June 24 again at AUA, according to Minister Manukuyan.

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