The Adjara government must duly complete its geophysical survey at Chanchkhalo village and publish the results
Transparency International Georgia calls on the government of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara to complete the Chanchkhalo village geophysical survey in a timely manner. The survey’s objective is to determine the reason why local houses and land plots were damaged, whether it was due to landslides or construction of a tunnel for the nearby Hydropower Plant (HP). The results will also assist the determination as to whether the locals will be resettled or compensated for the damages. The Adjara government was supposed to complete the survey and publish its results as early as November 2014, but it has not done so to this day.
The decision to conduct a geophysical survey was made by a special government commission. After a visual inspection of all houses in Chanchkhalo the commission concluded that 40 out of 130 total houses were unfit for habitation. The local residents attribute the damage to the construction of a tunnel for the nearby Shuakhevi HP. They have also been asking for a decision to be made about their resettlement.
Another geophysical survey was conducted in 2014 by the HP owner company Adjaristskali Georgia based on popular demand before the establishment of the government commission later the same year. This survey concluded that the causes of damages incurred by buildings and land plots in Chanchkhalo were due to landslides and violation of engineering rules during the construction of houses, and not the construction of the tunnel.
The final decision on who should compensate the local residents for damages to their property – the government or the HP construction company – will be made based on joint findings of both surveys: one conducted by the Adjara government and the other by the company Adjaristskali Georgia. The government will be responsible for compensation if the surveys determine that the damage was caused by natural disasters (landslides, floods, etc.). In a letter sent to Transparency International Georgia on January 20 head of Adjara Government Office stated that the government regularly allocates funds for dealing with natural disasters.
Transparency International Georgia calls on the Adjara government to act in a timely manner in order to help the 40 families currently living in extreme jeopardy. Determining the exact causes of the damage will both help prevent the looming threat of the landslide season and, push forward the processes of resettlement and proper compensation.