Sourik Khachatryan, governor of Armenia’s southern Syunik Province, owns 50% in Tatevi Anapat LLC which is building two mini hydro-plants in the communities of Tatev and Tandzatap.
One questions such a name for the company since “anapat”, in Armenian, can be translated as the noun “desert” or “wasteland”, or the adjectival equivalent “barren”. Perhaps they had in mind “wilderness”.
If so, what will remain of the area’s wilderness after the plants are constructed is a concern for many, especially local residents.
Anapat-1 is the hydro-plant that will begin on the Vorotan River tributaries of Karahounts and Aghandzou.
While the blueprint for the project claims that construction will not harm the local environment and that there is no endangered flora and fauna in the area, Tandzatap residents sent letters to Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and then prime minister Tigran Sargsyan and environment minister Aram Haroutyunyan in 2013, warning them that the hydro-plant would decimate river fish and deprive three affected communities of irrigation water, thus forcing them to leave their homes.
Tatev Anapat has already begun some construction and has presented a modified blueprint to the environment ministry for preliminary evaluation.
On December 12, a public hearing was scheduled to take place in Tanadzatap regarding the company’s preliminary evaluation petition regarding the environmental impact of the Anapat-1 plant.
According to Tandzatap Mayor Robert Mousheghyan, young people are for the plant while older residents are worried about the plant’s impact on irrigation water.
“The builder came and assured us that no such problem would arise,” Mousheghyan told Hetq.
The mayor said that most at the public hearing were in favor of the plant on the condition that its operation is restricted during the summer and that it not obstructs villagers from irrigating. Mousheghyan told Hetq that company representatives promised to permit water flows to the village during June, July and August during the daytime hours.
“I don’t foresee any problems if the company sticks to the agreement to allow us irrigation water in the summer and that it hires at least six people from the community to work at the upper hydro plant,” the mayor said.
The hydro-plant is scheduled to begin operation next spring.
The remaining 50% of Tatev Anapat is equally shared by Tatev native Spartak Santrosyan (a person known to local residents) and Arsen Sargsyan.