Investigative reporting / Kyrgyzstan

Osh: The house of the state directorate is bursting at the seams

06.09.2016

Another building in the southern capital built by the state directorate for the reconstruction of Osh and Jalal-Abad begins to dilapidate. Inhabitants of the multi apartment house which was constructed for blind and deaf people and was only recently given up for rent have complained about the destruction of walls and the poor work done on the sewerage.

Author Asanbek Karakozuyev, journalist for ORTRK “Yntymak” in Osh.

Following investigation was prepared in cooperation with the ORTRK “Yntymak” with the bureau of journalistic investigation at the IWPR.

The house of the state directorate is falling apart.

Another building in the southern capital constructed by the state directorate for the reconstruction of the cities Osh and Jalal-Abad begins to dilapidate. The 45 apartment building was commissioned for the blind and the hearing impaired. This is not the first building by the state directorate that was constructed in a poor manner.

After the ethnic clashes in South Kyrgyzstan in June of 2010 the state directorate constructed 173 houses. Complaints about bad plastering, poor quality doors and about the buildings in general, have been reported previously.

Bad quality buildings, suffering people

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In the night we heard a roar. Everybody started talking about how the building had sunk. Due to the fact that we couldn’t see anything, we weren’t able to run to the basement. We immediately called the Ministry for Emergency Situations. There they pleaded that “Safari”, the company that performed construction would also perform repairs.

“But the builders blame all of it on us” – says a member of the Society for the Blind and Deaf Uulkan Boronova.

This building was built by the state directorate in 2010 and in 2012 administration was handed over to the blind and hearing impaired citizens for free. Not a year passed after the handover before insufficiencies became visible and repairs were even performed. And now the building is in a hazardous condition again. Around 300 inhabitants are scared that the whole building might simply collapse after witnessing how the basement was flooded.

More than 20 thousand people have viewed this short video and voiced their criticism on the current state of affairs.

“Apparently they were slacking when they constructed the building. Would the building have sunk if they were paying more attention? Because of the fact that the foundation was not poured properly the building is subsiding. Earlier, a corner of the building hat sunk so much but this they had repaired. There are also cracks on the outside. We are all afraid that one day the whole building might collapse. God help us all”, – says Boronova

According to another inhabitant of the building Gulbarchyn Chaysheva the authorities put the blame on the tenants themselves.

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“Whatever happens, we remain outcasts. They claim that the blind clog the canalisations turning it into a garbage pile. This is how they use our disability against us. If the authorities keep on shifting blame onto each other our building will simply collapse. It is understandable that the government doesn’t have the means to resettle us to a different place but they could at least accelerate the repairs”, – claims Chaysheva.

The people with disabilities say they received the apartments with difficulty after waiting many years in queue. Back then, only 45 families were able to acquire their own homes. According to the data, more than 610 people in the Society of the Blind and Deaf are waiting in line for their own home. 4 years have not even passed and the buildings already pose a grave threat to the lives of the inhabitants.

Similar answers

The aforementioned house was examined by a special commission. According to Osmonkul Kurmanbekov, the head of the department for ecological technical safety of the city of Osh, the building does not pose any danger in its current condition.

“Together with specialists we have examined the state of the building. The canalization was clogged. But any danger to the life of the inhabitants does not exist”, – he said.

Currently the answers of the local authorities, the competent authorities and the company “Safari” are all very similar. Each and every one of them confirm that the inhabitants are responsible and that they have nothing to fear from. Kursant Ergeshov, the head of the company “Safari” affirms that because of the clogged canalizations the building had begun to overload. Hereby he assures that this has no connection with the construction of the building or its construction materials.

004“If a small part of the house subsides then it is not worth putting immediate blame on the construction company. With regard to the quality of the house, a special commission has accepted it. If only they would take care of the house then everything would be fine”, – says Ergeshov.

In turn, Mirlan Israilov, the head of the department for urban development and municipal property of Osh says:

“Water had accumulated in the basement because of the clogged up canalizations. When they started cleaning the pipes they had found all manner of things: from diapers to potatoes. Obviously the pipes could not withstand the pressure and the walls of the house began to dampen. Once the house had been handed over into private ownership to the inhabitants, they ought to have kept the pipes clean. Even if an accident had taken place then the tenants ought to have come up for the repairs. Nevertheless, we have contacted the construction company and they are currently performing repairs”, – says Israilov.

Kursant Ergeshov remarks that once the house had been given for rent 1 year of warranty was provided. Precisely, it was on the 12th of April 2013 that the warranty had ran out.

“That is why are currently not obliged to perform any repairs”, – he said.

“I didn’t come here because I felt myself responsible. I was simply curious to see what was happening. I saw all the rubbish in the canalization. The company is not responsible for this”, – says Ergeshov.

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Claims against the state directorate

Prior to this there were many complaints about the houses constructed after the tragic events of 2010. For example, it was said there was a large crack right in the middle of a multi apartment building in the neighborhood of Anar district. And these weren’t exceptions. It was only after the construction companies performed repairs in these houses that the question never arose again.

In the neighborhood Anar in one of the houses built by the state directorate 2 entrances had fallen into disrepair. Back then 30 apartments were recognized as dilapidated. The residents were resettled to another place. In this house relatives of those that died in the June 2010 clashes had lived here.

23 families of this house had been resettled to different place. The hazardous house had been wrecked and in its stead in Motorny Street another 30 apartment house was constructed. This was constructed by the company “Dias” which took upon itself all expenses concerning its erection.

After the houses that were constructed by the state directorate were given up for residence 503 apartments remained. Of those, 278 were transferred under mortgages to civil servants, the rest were given to agents of law enforcement.

Disappearing billions

Sometime in 2012 the state directorate was accused of largescale financial violations headed by Jantoro Satybaldiyev. Prior to this the Accounts Chamber had repeatedly inspected the activities of the organization but could not identify any infringements. Distrust of the audits dealings from the side of the parliament committee lead to the creation of an MP commission

The members of the commission have accused the head of the directorate Satybaldiyev of “engaging in largescale financial violations, haphazard construction of homes, disappearance of millions of Soms, lack of control over financial resources and of intentional corruption” In response, Satybaldiyev denied all allegations adding that MP’s were politicizing the issue.

The question of the financing of the state directorate for the reconstruction of the cities Osh and Jalal-Abad has sparked a large resonance. When the directorate was being created a special fund was established for the accumulation of resources. Even a supervisory board was formed for the open, economic and practical use of resources. Apart from representatives of the government it also included members of nongovernmental and international organisations.

According to calculations made by the MP Commission. In 3 years after the June 2010 clashes 11.5 billion Soms in forms of budget resources, grants and humanitarian aid were transferred to the account of the state directorate. “However only 4.6 billion Soms are documented”, – the commission added

Account Chambers did not recognize the truthful results of the MP commission.

“Account Chambers announced insufficiencies amounting to 1.296 million Soms. We managed to restore them. Today the state directorate does not have any residual funds. When in 2013 the state directorate closed the accountants calculated all existing accounts. Delivering another audit was difficult because all documents were already archived. In total, a loss of 41 million Soms was announced. These resources were restored. The other sum was found during other inspections” said Shamyrza Abdybaitov the main government inspector of the Account Chambers.

The MP Commission accused the Account Chambers of taking a formal character when conducting the inspection. The activities of the supervisory board of management was not analyzed which was called into being for controlling the expenditure of funds. The members of the supervisory board did not provide any information as to how the budget and grant resources were used.

As was mentioned earlier, in connection with the activities of the state directorate 4 criminal cases were called upon. But one of them was closed due to lack of evidence. As was also mentioned earlier of inadequately build homes, hazardous homes of which 23 families were resettled and other insufficiencies the criminal case against the state directorate has been resumed.

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Law enforcement agencies in conjunction with the prosecutor’s office in Osh have established the fact of abuse of public office which led to large-scale embezzlement of public funds.

As stated in the press service of the local law enforcement agencies February 2, 2015 , officials of the State Directorate , in spite of the poor-quality housing , signed the act on the commissioning of a multi-store 60 -apartment building in the neighborhood Anar .

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“Because of the non-compliance with the rules, inside and outside the building there were big cracks. Damage to the budget of the country is estimated at 57 million Soms “, –  was said in a statement.

The State Directorate was established on June 19, 2010. And in 2013, it was closed with the formulation that the mission to rebuild Osh and Jalal – Abad cities had been completed.

Inadequate work of “Safari”

The construction company “Safari” began construction work on an elevated bridge in Osh. As is known, less than a year after the beginning of repair works immense criticism had been directed at the company.

According to residents of the city, company representatives came to the subsided demanding that everyone refrain from complaining about the conditions. At the same time, they promised to bring the house back to a normal state.

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Afterwards the company sent two workers who tried to repair something in one day. Again they asked not to tell anyone. We agreed, but for 6 days no one came. In the meantime, the cracks in the walls only started getting bigger. We did not understand why they were so afraid of the publicity. If repairs aren’t conducted any time soon then the situation will become dangerous, “- says a resident of the house Uulkan Boronova.

“Safari” did not win the contract through a tender but through competition. 77 million Soms were spent on the construction of the house №18 in the Anar neighborhood. And now the house poses a threat to life for the second time. Employees of the City Hall continue to certify that the above-mentioned drawbacks do not affect the construction of the house and there is little need to worry.

” The statements that the house was built poorly and that it might collapse are untrue. The company “Safari” is not at fault at all. We will of course once again examine the state of the house, but the main thing is that the construction of the house is not harmed, “- says Mirlan Israilov.

We only ask company to once again carry out repair works. Although this responsibility should rest with the tenants themselves. But we understand that we are dealing with disabled people and we want to help them. There are many houses in Osh and now we are supposed to fix each and everyone one of them? They themselves have to keep the house in good shape. With regards to this house, it is not the fault of the company but of the tenants, “- says the head of the housing department of the City Hall Altynbek Pirmatov.

In recent years, the authorities who control the quality of construction assure us that the quality of multi-storied and private houses is improving with each year. Experts also believe that not all houses are built with urban development norms in mind. For example, recent examinations show that houses which collapsed due to earthquakes were built only recently. One reason for this situation is the fact that construction companies use cheap and poor quality building materials in order to save money. At the same time no one takes responsibility. The local authorities who instead of assessing the negligence of private companies, only do it in order to protect them.

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