It is a remarkable day in Qusar District today. The water problem in Qusar has been resolved. We are celebrating completion of this project today. I sincerely congratulate you on this occasion. This is a very important event indeed, because the problem of water in Qusar was very acute in previous years. We can say that all our districts had similar problems, and they are gradually being resolved.
Today we have completed this project. The city of Qusar is already supplied with high-quality and clean water that is fully compliant with World Health Organization standards. At the same time, water from this source will be supplied to seven villages of Qusar District and three villages of Quba District. This problem has been resolved in Qusar. We are addressing other problems and challenges.
There is rapid socioeconomic development of Qusar District. I always keep these issues in the spotlight. This is my 12th visit to Qusar. In the past 13 years, I come to Qusar almost every year, get acquainted with the situation and give instructions to address the existing problems here.
Today we celebrated the opening of the Qusar-Imamgulukand-Qukhuroba road. This is the fourth major rural road project implemented in Qusar District. These projects already cover the majority of the villages. I am told that rural roads 98 kilometers in length have been built in Qusar. This, of course, serves people’s comfort and development of the district because there can be no development without the roads.
In the future, we will probably implement new projects related to rural roads. Along with this, the gasification process is under way. A total of 68 per cent of households now have gas. We are addressing issues of energy supply. There are two power plants here: the Shahdag station is located on the border of Qusar and Quba Districts. The Khachmaz power plant provides power to this entire region.
And now we have implemented a drinking water project. Thus, touching upon the key infrastructure projects, we can say that all of them have been implemented: we have implemented electricity, gasification, drinking water, rural roads and social projects. Today we celebrated the opening of a large school in the village of Gil. This school meets the highest standards. In one of our previous visits we celebrated the opening of the central district hospital, because there was no district hospital here at all, and it was a completely new project.
Our plans for the future, of course, are meant to ensure the development of Qusar District and the northern zone as a whole, and to make it sustainable. We are implementing agricultural projects here, and even more should be implemented in the future. Appropriate instructions have been given. These projects are of great importance both for domestic needs and for the sale of our products abroad.
Of course, Qusar District has great tourism potential. I mentioned that in the earlier trips as well. I noted that we need to turn Qusar into an international tourism center - not only nationally, but also internationally. We are about to achieve that. The Shahdag tourist center today is globally known for its beauty, comfort and conditions.
I remember the time when I first visited these places. There was nothing here at all - no infrastructure, roads, electricity, gas, water. There was nothing but the mountains. Now there is an international world-class resort. There are five hotels, thousands of district residents have jobs. Tens of thousands of tourists come here every year, both local and foreign. We have created these conditions for the people. Azerbaijan has never had a ski resort. We have created it, and now the goal is that this resort should work at full capacity also in the summer. I am told that the number of tourists coming to Qusar in the summer of this year increased. The center should actually operate throughout the year, because the number of people coming to Azerbaijan is gradually increasing. Citizens of the country prefer resting in Azerbaijan, because now we have great opportunities – wonderful hotels, recreation areas and roads. Today we celebrated the opening of the Qusar-Imamgulukand-Qukhuroba road This is not just a project connecting villages. It means access to the highway. It reduces the distance to Baku and establishes an excellent link with Khachmaz. This is how we approach these issues. First of all, we are implementing projects necessary for infrastructure development. In the northern region, we have allocated billions manats for these projects. Most of these projects are social in nature. Drinking water projects are purely social. We have very low water tariffs, and it is impossible to recover the investment. It will take 50 years perhaps.
This includes gasification. Our gas prices are about 8-10 times lower than elsewhere in the world. It is five times lower than in neighboring countries and other countries of the South Caucasus. So gasification projects are also of social nature.
The money invested in the construction of rural roads will not be recovered either. This is not the money invested in an enterprise. Why are we doing that? We are doing it for the people and for development. The main objectives are regional development and improved living standards of our people. The work carried out in Qusar District in recent years shows again that we are on the right track. You, the people of Qusar District, know this best of all and remember the previous situation. The situation today is pleasing to the eye. Qusar has become a booming, beautiful and well-maintained district. New jobs and opportunities are emerging. State investments in social and infrastructure projects will be continued. Today, we expect greater activity from the private sector, because both local and foreign businessmen engaged in the private sector should work harder. They should efficiently use the available conditions. I can say that the conditions we have created are not available in every country. Our stability is the main condition for development and business. There are infrastructure projects and state support for business. Today I attended the opening of the first agro-park in Yalama. Its area exceeds 500 hectares. There are already 1,000 head of cattle there and it will reach 3,000. We have created modern irrigation technologies. On the first stage, it will employ 150 and then 300 people. The government and the private sector have allocated loans.
A similar complex should be established in Qusar District because there are similar climatic conditions here. We will provide ourselves with food and will export it. There are our two key objectives. Local governments should also try to attract investors, because there are many large companies in Azerbaijan willing to invest. We should also invite companies from abroad. We need to be more active in this, because the future depends on this development. Business development, agriculture, industrial potential, opportunities for tourism – these are the sectors that generate currency. They are also important for employment.
Today's event is of particular importance because clean drinking water meeting World Health Organization standards is to be supplied to the city of Qusar. I have come here to celebrate this event together with you. I congratulate you on this wonderful event again.