Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the meeting with representatives of the general public in Astara15 october 2018, 15:30
Greetings! It is a wonderful and remarkable day in the city of Astara today. We are officially celebrating the supply of drinking water to Astara. I have been informed that clean drinking water has been supplied to the population for about two months now. This is a great event. I have come here today to officially celebrate this wonderful event together with you.
Drinking water is the key prerequisite of health. Everyone knows that. This problem has been resolved in Astara too. So the city is now supplied with drinking water meeting the standards of the World Health Organization. At the next stage, we plan to supply water to many villages. Of course, additional funds will be allocated for this purpose in the coming years so that the problem is fully resolved. The implementation of drinking water projects requires major financial resources and large investments. We are doing this for people to have clean and high-quality drinking water, because, I want to say this again, drinking water is the main condition for a healthy and normal lifestyle.
Drinking water projects are being implemented in many of our districts. Several opening ceremonies have already been held and more are planned for the coming years. The goal is to fully implement drinking water projects in line with existing standards. We will thus resolve the key infrastructure issues facing the country.
As for other projects, the creation of infrastructure in Astara District is progressing fast. Gasification is at 83 per cent. The construction of rural roads has assumed large proportions. I have been informed that 92 per cent of rural roads in Astara District has been reconstructed. This is an excellent indicator. Another project is envisaged in the State Investment Program for next year. So I believe that roads in all the villages will be brought to a high level.
At the same time, the opening of the Baku-Astara highway took place last month. This is the highest-level road, very comfortable and safe. As you know, a new direction of the road has been defined, a new highway has been built and the length of the road has been reduced by 40 kilometers. This road can take you straight to Astara without entering other cities. Thus, the calm of the settlements located along it is ensured. Previously, trucks and cars drove into all the cities along the road disturbing the local people. Now all our cities located along the road – Lankaran, Masalli, Jalilabad, Bilasuvar, Salyan – have been saved from this problem. We only have to resolve the problem of the city of Astara, and we will do that. There was only section left. A new road will be built to the Azerbaijani-Iranian border. Under such circumstances, the trucks and people traveling to the neighboring country will reach the border directly without entering Astara. We are working on this project, certain work has been done, land has been allocated and even the first layers of soil have been compacted. Additional funds will be allocated this and next year. I believe that by the middle of next year, a new highway will be built from the current Baku-Astara highway to the Azerbaijani-Iranian border, and not a single transit truck will have to enter Astara. We will do this to save the people of Astara from these problems.
As for other projects, as you know, a modular power station was built in the city of Astara in 2005. This station serves both the district proper and the entire region. Thus, issues of power supply have also been resolved. A drinking water project has been implemented today. I already spoken about gasification and the construction of rural roads. In other words, the key infrastructure issues are being resolved in Astara.
As for the social infrastructure, 35 schools, an Olympic Sports Complex have been built in the district, the central district hospital has been overhauled and other social facilities are being established. Astara District has tremendous tourist potential. After the Baku-Astara highway is into operation, the number of tourists should and will increase. Foreign tourists come to Astara. The tourism infrastructure and recreation areas, including a boulevard, are being created here. Additional funds were allocated for the Astara boulevard, so that this recreation area would cover an even bigger territory.
As you know, a meeting on tea-growing, rice-growing and citrus-growing was held in Lankaran last year. These sectors will give a powerful impetus to the development of this region. After the meeting, government programs were adopted and there is progress in this area too. Therefore, the development of traditional branches of agriculture is one of the top issues on our agenda. Tourism infrastructure is being created as well. The process of creating jobs is under way because the big support provided for agriculture certainly increases employment. People receive more opportunities, improve their well-being, and things in this beautiful region will go even better.
As I have already noted, the project on bringing the Baku-Astara highway to the Iranian border will be implemented in the future. At the same time, a new 48-apartment building will be constructed for those living in communal houses. The investment program for next year provides for a project on new rural roads. I believe that after resolving these issues, we will implement all major infrastructure projects. In the future, we simply need to use these opportunities to further enhance the potential of the district. There are plans to develop entrepreneurship, the non-oil sector, agriculture and new processing enterprises. Traditional branches of agriculture should develop even faster. For this purpose, the necessary measures are being taken and the state pays considerable attention.
The work done in Astara and neighboring districts in recent years requires tremendous financial resources. The creation of electricity and gas facilities, roads, the Lankaran international airport, the implementation of water projects, the construction of highways, the support provided for agriculture require major financial resources. We are doing and should do this because this is the requirement of the State Program on Socioeconomic Development of the Regions. We adopted this program. The third state program will be completed at the end of this year. It is possible to say that we have over-fulfilled the program, including the issues concerning Astara District.
I can say that the last major project is being officially commissioned today. I congratulate you on this wonderful occasion again.
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