The external debt of Kyrgyzstan is slowly but surely is approaching the critical level of 60 percent of GDP. This forces the government to think about finding the money for major infrastructure projects in its own pocket. Fountain of ideas is not observed. All the hardships of ingenious ploys of officials fall on the citizens.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications "brought joy" last week. Not having time to justify itself after the controversial tender for construction of the road Balykchy - Korumdu, it started new changes, having proposed to increase the tolls for passage through tunnels on Bishkek - Osh highway. And logical explanation seems to be ready. Allegedly, the current tariffs haven't been increased since 2004, but prices are rising.
"In connection with the development of information technologies and in order to eliminate the human factor in the collection of charges points, the introduction of the card system or an electronic charging is being considered, therefore all categories of beneficiaries, except for transport, exempted from payment by the KR legislation, are excluded," the background statement says. - In recent years, the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have conducted negotiations and research on the construction of the road galleries to protect against avalanches on the 246-kilometer highway Bishkek - Osh. Construction of the gallery in the Chychkan valley is scheduled for 2016-2019 years, preparatory work has begun. Maintenance and operation is also carried out at the expense of funds received from the fees," the Ministry of Transport says.
Does this ring any bells? Yes, right, the airport fee has been increased under the similar pretext from $10 to $15. The authorities have decided to repair the road to Manas airport and didn't find anything better then to get into the pockets of citizens. Almost half a year has passed since then, half of the road is closed, and the brave performers were honored only to asphalt the gap between the two lanes and completely dismantle the lighting. The firs looked quite good in this part of the road, by the way. But, apparently, the greens are out of favour now.
Reconstructed in the first years of independence Bishkek - Osh road is in decline today because of the inability or unwillingness of the authorities to monitor its condition. Currently we offer to chip for its repair almost by the whole country. Those who have to regularly travel around the track, to put it mildly, are not amused.
"I go to Osh all the time. For each passage through the Kolbaev tunnel have to pay 45 soms. Previously, it was okay. The road was new, well-groomed, in the winter it was constantly sanded. And now what? It is terrible, pits and potholes. Even the stones are not put out of the road. And what if a heavy transporter runs into a stone? Now they want to raise fees. I disagree. First they must repair the road. Otherwise, pass along Bishkek - Osh road couple of times and then you must immediately repair your car," the taxi driver Beishenbek U. said.
And this is not a single opinion. Recently, I experienced all the charm of a trip to Suusamyr valley in my own car. I can't even call it a road - the track, especially the area before Kolbaev tunnel and after it. Rather, it is the direction. The last time I passed there two years ago. It seems that all this time nobody watched for the track, but the money is demanded. Not to mention the fact that due to the negligent truck drivers, who take the mountain road for the racetrack, ride on it is becoming more dangerous.
Considering the current state of the road, the proposal to increase the fee seems very strange, if not to say inappropriate. The proposed sum - 50 soms seems small for cars, but one doesn't want to pay for the lack of a normal road surface. It turns out that the Ministry of Transport has funds for the installation of special devices for receiving payment, but for the repair - no.
Recently, the Ministry of Transport and Communications has appointed a new director - Zamirbek Aydarov. I would like to advise him to go on a small tour along Bishkek - Osh road. Just go not in a comfortable jeep and accompanied by guards and officials, but independently, by taxi, as thousands of our citizens do. Then, you see, and find out how citizens relate to the idea, and at the same time will understand, whether to increase the fee on the "worn out" road or not.