Wednesday, July 18, 2012 -
Over 5,000 workers in Tajikistan are now unemployed due to a ban imposed by the World Bank on further construction of the Rogun Dam, a leading Tajik source reported Wednesday.
“The World Bank banned the construction of new facilities, and as a result of their jobs were five thousand people involved in reconstruction work [were made redundant],” Struan Stevenson, a Member of European Parliament who has been a passionate advocate of the dam project, told journalists during a visit to the Tajik capital Dushanbe on Wednesday.
He is afraid that World Bank delays in conducting a feasibility study for the delay will mean the unemployed workers will head abroad.
“It is unclear on why countries object to the construction of the Rogun plant, when it will have no negative effect on the use of water and the region’s environment,” he said, according to the Asia-Plus.tj news agency.
“I don’t understand why someone is trying to forbid Tajikistan to use its own resources. I personally think that the Rogun plant should be built the sooner the better, because this is a life-important project for Tajikistan.”
Uzbekistan has raised strong objections to the construction of the plant, underway since Soviet days, saying that it will deplete shared water resources. Uzbekistan relies on water for its cotton industry and other crops.
In retaliation, Uzbekistan has held up trains carrying food and medical supplies to Tajikistan, and has recently made it more difficult for Tajik-bound trucks to cross their shared border.