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Cattle market or car park. Municipal land inspected for proper use in Karakol

The cattle market of Karakol (residents call it “mal bazar”) emerged in 1869, when the town of Przhevalsk, now Karakol, was founded.  At first, it was located in the territory of the current consumer goods marketplace Ak Tilek, but soon it developed and was relocated. Now it is located at the intersection of Udilov/Valikhanov streets. Karakol residents call this area Neftianiki. The market is deemed one of the largest ones in the Issyk Kul region as cattle from all the regions, even from neighbouring states, are transported there. It works on Sundays – from one a.m. till lunchtime.

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Just recently, we’ve received information that the allegedly official cattle market has expanded its territory illegally. We’ve decided to check whether it is true. We’ve found out that the administration of the cattle market has leased the land in front of the mal bazar – this is how residents call the cattle market – and located another cattle market instead of the car park, as written in documents, and the territory intended for commercial facilities… is it illegal land seizure or improper use? However, first things first.

This March, the mayor’s office of Karakol sought offers to lease land plots near the cattle market. One of the participants of the tender was the director of the cattle market – Bakyt Tulozhanov. However, the winner was another person – Adylbek Zhusupbekov who offered 815 thousand som per year for the land. Tulozhanov did not agree with the decision made by the land committee, and this April he filed an application to the prosecutor’s office saying the tender violated the statutory provisions – he wrote about cutting the starting price of the land plots.

In May, the prosecutor’s office issued an order for the mayor’s office of Karakol to remedy these breaches. Thus, according to the Decree of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic dated September 23, 2011 No. 571, as well as the Regulation on the procedure and conditions of fee-based granting of property rights or lease rights to land plots that belong to the municipality of Karakol, which is enshrined in the Decree of the Karakol Town Council dated September 28, 2012 No. 267/1, the starting price of land plots should be at least 834,131 som per year. Thus, the incorrect price caused the damage to the state in the amount of 183,859 som.

The prosecutor’s office of the town issued a decree for the mayor’s office to remedy the breaches by holding another tender for land lease, but the mayor’s office failed to remedy the breaches and the tender was not held. The land committee bound the Department for Municipal Property Management of the mayor’s office to terminate the lease contract between A.Zhusupov referring to the order issued by the prosecutor’s office, and entered into new contract with the second bidder – B.Tulozhanov, who offered 701 thousand som per year, whereas the starting price should be at least 834 131 som per year.

The question is how B.Tulozhanov became a leaseholder of the land plots without the new tender, as was required by the prosecutor’s office, and at an understated price? The reason may be the public posts of the relatives of the market’s owner. Leaseholder Bakyt Tulozhanov didn’t want to answer the questions of journalists, but his relative Erzhan Tulozhanov did it instead of him and confirmed his mother is the deputy of Karakol Town Council.

Erzhan Tulozhanov . Photo CABAR.asia

“This territory used to be messy. We cleaned it up, leased this land and make all payments properly. However, they suspect us in everything instead of supporting us,” Erzhan Tulozhanov said.

According to the Standard Regulation on the procedure and conditions of fee-based granting of property rights or lease rights to land plots that belong to the municipality of Karakol approved by the decree of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic dated September 23, 2011 No. 571, tender may be found invalid by court only, not by land committee.

Also, the land committee may award the contract to the second bidder who offered next highest price after the first bidder. In fact, the second bidder was announced as winner, and land plots were leased to him at a reduced price, which violates the order issued by the prosecutor’s office. Currently, the order of the prosecutor’s office of Karakol has not been fulfilled in full.

Moreover, it should be noted that the decree of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic dated January 29, 2018 No. 59 was amended in paragraph 2, item 7 of the Standard Regulation “On the procedure and conditions of fee-based granting of property rights or lease rights to land plots that belong to the municipality”, which reads that the committee shall consist of representatives of executive bodies of the local government, public figures, non-profit and other organisations, and must not involve deputies of the town council.

It remains unclear whether the new committee was formed and approved by the time of the tender.

Photo CABAR.asia

Land plots leased out to B.Tulozhanov are intended, according to the documents, for the installation of temporary commercial facilities without the right of capital development for 5 years, and also for the car park area. In fact, another cattle market is located there. The leaseholder misuses the land plots he received and gains both from the car park and from every head located in the territory.

However, B.Tulozhanov has fulfilled the conditions of the contract in part, but with violations regarding health rules. B.Tulozhanov sublet already leased land plots to other persons with the purpose of installation of food pavilions, which violates health regulations. According to the decree of the Government dated June 18, 2015 No. 377 “On approval of primary veterinary health requirements to prevent animal diseases”, a buffer zone is advisory for the cattle market within the range of 200 metres, which should not have any facilities, especially food facilities.

But, according to the sanitary and epidemiological station, such facilities are acceptable, as well as the mill. “We are not responsible for the fact that there are food pavilions near the cattle market, this is the responsibility of the veterinary service. We have inspected these food pavilions and found some violations – lack of water pipe and plumbing system, as well as no health certificates in kitchen staff. We have issued the order for them to fulfil within a week,” said Raya Khafizova, chief officer of the sanitary and epidemiological station of Karakol.

However, this was not the last violation by B.Tulozhanov. He erected a concrete wall around the leased land and arbitrarily seized the adjacent plots, which didn’t belong to him. In fact, these seized land plots are the front part of Eldan mill. According to the law, these land plots are the municipal land and have no owner.

The owner should be determined through the auction, which has not been held so far. Moreover, B.Tulozhanov arbitrarily fenced off the roadway of Valikhanov street, which passed near the fence of the mill, and relocated it 40 metres sideways, thus creating a new profit-making area for himself. “Yes, I built this concrete fence. I should have fenced my land plots off for order’s sake,” B.Tulozhanov explained.

According to the data of the official source darek.kg, Valikhanov street, which was arbitrarily relocated by B.Tulozhanov, must pass between the Eldan mill and land plots leased by Tulozhanov, but in fact it was relocated sideways.

According to Shergazy Zhumashev, chief of Issyk Kul regional office for urban planning and architecture, the director of the cattle market, B.Tulozhanov, relocated the street without permission and erected a concrete wall around the leased land plots and seized the lands that didn’t belong to him. “When we were preparing the plot plan, which is now leased, we took into account all approach roads, entry and exit roads.

The Eldan mill must have an unhindered access road 12 metres long on both sides. There’s also a power line along the mill, which is located in the buffer zone, and it should have unhindered access to it. Tulozhanov hindered this area, thus violating the law. There should be an unhindered round access way there,” S.Zhumashev said.

In the report filed by the head of Eldan mill, Kantemir Baizakov, to the regional prosecutor’s office, he emphasised that B.Tulozhanov, the leaseholder, allegedly violated article 172-1 – arbitrary occupation or seizure of land, and article 211 – illegal entrepreneurship or banking activity, and article 231 of the Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic – tax and (or) other mandatory payment evasion. The following facts confirm these allegations:

– misuse of land plots, i.e. according to documents, only car park and facilities may be arranged on the leased land plots, whereas in fact, there is a cattle market on them;

– B.Tulozhanov’s people collect payments from cattle sellers in the leased area. However, sellers should pay once they enter the territory of the official cattle market;

– B.Tulozhanov collects payments from people for staying in the two land plots adjacent to his leased land. These two land plots are the front part of the Eldan mill and at the moment they belong to the municipality. It means that these land plots have not been officially delivered to anyone for use;

– B.Tulozhanov’s people, while on the disputed area, collect payments even from vehicles entering the territory of the mill;

– B.Tulozhanov was supposed to ensure unhindered access way to the territory of the mill and Road Service Department, but failed.

B.Tulozhanov’s relative, Erzhan, said that residents sell cattle in the disputed area without permission and they may not force these people to leave the place. “We didn’t seize this disputed area; residents come here and sell their cattle. We sought help from competent authorities, but they didn’t help us to maintain order here,” Erzhan said. It might sound reasonable, but how he can explain the fact that his people and he collect payments from everyone who stays in the disputed territory. We didn’t get the answer to this question.

Photo CABAR.asia

The director of the Eldan mill, Kantemir Baizakov, was indignant over payments for entering his territory. Moreover, people sell cattle just in front of the entrance to his mill, which is a major violation of the buffer zone requirement. According to the health rules, there should be a 100-metre buffer zone around the mill. (http://extwprlegs1.fao.org/docs/pdf/kaz112222.pdf).

In fact, there is no buffer zone there, while the entrance to the mill is obstructed by cattle sellers. Although, according to documents, the mill should have an unhindered access way, 12 metres long, but in fact one can hardly pass there. K.Baizakov has repeatedly sought help from competent authorities, but to no avail.

“This is a food facility and, according to health rules, there should be no cattle market in the radius of 100 metres.The place for the cattle market has been chosen incorrectly. The market should be relocated outside the town. However, Tulozhanov built this concrete wall and illegally seized two metres of land in addition to the leased land, and relocated the street sideways. Moreover, B.Tulozhanov’s father, who is the officer of the Directorate of Interior Affairs of Issyk Kul region, threatens me,” K.Baizakov said.

The Department for Municipal Property Management (DUMI) is the key supervisory body that is responsible for inspecting the intended use of the leased municipal land. The head of DUMI, Erlan Isaev, confirmed that disputed land plots that are located in front of the Eldan mill, which the administration of the cattle market is now misusing, don’t belong to anyone.

“We are now preparing these two disputed land plots for the auction. Tulozhanov built the concrete wall to regain some order as people used to sell cattle right on the road and it was a mess there. Now that the wall is built, residents have to sell cattle in the fenced territory. I didn’t see personally that Tulozhanov collected money from those who stayed in the disputed land plots and that he built the fence illegally,” E.Isaev said.

The head of DUMI, E.Isaev, couldn’t explain the legality and the need for the concrete wall and the seizure of disputed land plots. We understood from what he said that the mayor’s office found legal the arbitrary use of disputed areas by Tulozhanov and his collection of payments from cattle sellers. The management of the Eldan mill have repeatedly sought help from the mayor’s office of Karakol, but to no avail.

The mayor of the town, Adyl Kanimetov, said there were no violations in the lease and use of the land plots. “Everything should be as initially outlined by the architecture office, i.e. according to the map, while DUMI must be responsible for the reasonable control. While the leaseholder must make timely payments for land use,” the mayor said. 

Another supervisory body, State Inspectorate for Environmental and Technical Compliance of Karakol, which received the report filed by Kantemir Baizakov, director of the Eldan mill, who asked to check the legality of use of disputed land plots and intended use of the leased land by the management of the cattle market, as well as to check the compliance with health and technical requirements, refused to perform the inspection by reference to the refusal of the ministry of economy (http://cbd.minjust.gov.kg/act/view/ru-ru/12797). The ministry of economy, in turn, commented that they refused to perform the inspection on the basis of the current moratorium on the inspection of private entities.

“The State Inspectorate for Environmental and Technical Compliance explained to us that the risk related to the performance of my request was minor, i.e. we asked to check the legality of seizure of the disputed land plots, and they told us they may not perform the inspection once there was no risk to life and health of people. According to the lease documents for the three land plots we have in our possession, they should be used as a car park and as lands intended for commercial facilities only.

The situation that happens every Sunday on the market demonstrates that the land plot is used as a car park and as a land for commercial facilities, namely fast food outlets, and as a cattle market, which is unacceptable,” K.Baizakov said.

Photo CABAR.asia

Currently, the Issyk Kul regional prosecutor’s office has a report filed by K.Baizakov, director of the Eldan mill, who asked to inspect thoroughly the activities of B.Tulozhanov – the leaseholder, and to bind him to maintain order on the leased land plots, to demount the concrete wall he built, and to act under the law.

Also, he asked to check whether the actions of the land committee, which held the auction in violation of the requirements of the town prosecutor’s office, were legal, and why the order of the town prosecutor’s office, which bound DUMI to hold another auction and state the starting price for the land plots at the level of 834 thousand som, was not executed.

By the time of publication of this article, we managed to speak with Erzhan Tulozhanov, who told us he was ready to demount the concrete wall, which he admitted to have built with violations, within a week, and open access to Valikhanov street, and to fence off his legally leased land plot.

Also he promised to run his business according to the law.

This article was prepared as part of the Giving Voice, Driving Change – from the Borderland to the Steppes Project. The opinions expressed in the article do not reflect the position of the editorial or donor.

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