Namakhvani HPP Construction Company Welcomes De-escalation in Rioni Gorge

The company hopes the protesters will not restrict the free movement of others in the gorge

TBILISI, 17 Jun – Sputnik. The contractor ENKA, which is working on the construction of the Namakhvani HPP cascade, welcomes any steps to de-escalate the situation in the Rioni Gorge in western Georgia, the company said in a statement.

This is how the ENKA management reacted to the dismantling of metal barriers in the village of Gumati, Tskhaltubsky municipality.

The Georgian Interior Ministry began on Thursday, June 17, to dismantle metal barriers in the village of Gumati.

The statement of the Ministry of Internal Affairs notes that police officers remain in the village, who will maintain public order in the Rioni gorge.

The police also urge opponents of the construction of the Namakhvani HPP cascade to comply with the requirements of the law.

“It is important that there are no hotbeds of tension in the Rioni Gorge and that events develop in a calm atmosphere,” the company said.

At the same time, the company hopes that activists will take responsibility for peaceful protest within the framework of the law and will not restrict the free movement of others in the gorge.

“It is important that they comply with the law, all fundamental rights, including the right to property,” the company says.

Last week, with the participation of the Deputy Director of the Energy Association of the EU Secretariat and Chairman of the Center for Negotiations and Dispute Resolution Dirk Buschle, the leaders of the protest movement “Defenders of the Rioni Gorge” held talks with the deputy heads of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Economy of Georgia. The meeting lasted nine hours. As a result, those present managed to reach an agreement.

According to the document, the defenders of the Rioni Gorge will continue their peaceful protest without blocking the entrance to the construction site, after which the police will remove the barriers and provide the protesters with access to the main road. This should happen by Friday, June 18th.

The protest of opponents of the construction of the Namakhvani HPP cascade in the Rioni river gorge in the Imereti region has been going on for more than seven months. The government was forced to make concessions and announced a moratorium on the construction of a dam at the Rioni hydroelectric power station for a period of 9 to 12 months.

In 2019, the Georgian government granted the right to develop, build, own and operate the Namakhvani HPP cascade to the Turkish company ENKA and the Norwegian company Clean Energy Group. The engineering structure will occupy the territory of two municipalities at once: Tsageri and Tskhaltubo.

Namakhvani HPP will consist of a cascade of two HPPs: one with a 1 sq. km, and the second – with an area of ​​5.1 sq. km. At the same time, with the help of a dam and locks, the water level will be regulated in order to prevent floods in the gorge.

After the completion of the project, the annual electricity production in Georgia will increase by 15%. $ 830 million will be invested in the construction of the cascade.

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