The terms of the Namakhvani Hydropower Plant contract between the investor and the state “are unclear to the majority of the population, which causes tension,” said Archpriest Andria Jagmaidze, Head of the Public Relations Department of the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC).
According to him, there are “certain questions with regard to the terms of the contract,” specifically in connection to the expediency of the project given the environmental aspects, as well as economic aspects.
In his April 14 remarks, the Archpriest asserted that the contract “should be discussed in more details and the public should be provided with objective information.” The announcement came amid sporadic large scale protests in western city of Kutaisi and adjacent Gumati village against the nearby powerplant project that day, preceded by police detention of protesters the day before.
He noted that the GOC was “very late” to find out about the transfer of land to the company operating largely with Turkish investment. The Archpriest said 100-year lease of the lands to the company also “raises many questions.”
“There should have been a much larger discussion before such conditions were included in the contract, so that the population knew about it and there was no surprise,” Archpriest Jagmaidze asserted.
The GOC Public Relations Head called on both protesters and the Government “to be reasonable and create a space for dialogue, where the interested party will have the opportunity to ask questions, get competent answers, with those responsible in attendance.”
Earlier on the same day, the powerful Orthodox Church Patriarchate made a short statement, expressing concern over the rising tensions in the Rioni River Valley over the powerplant construction. Calling further escalation of the situation “unacceptable,” the Patriarchate called on both sides to engage in dialogue.
Follow our Namakhvani tag for earlier developments about the controversial project.