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Economy in focus of Belarus' Chernobyl lands revival program

MINSK, 28 April (BelTA) – Economy comes first in the development of a program for the revival of the Chernobyl-affected lands, member of the Standing Committee on Legislation of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus Irina Dovgalo said in an interview to the SB. Belarus Today newspaper, as she commented on the president's order to prepare a corresponding document, BelTA has learned.

“No matter what, the economy is primary: if there are jobs, production, there will be wages and decent living conditions,” the MP said.

According to her, an equally important aspect is environment and health. “People should know that they live, even if not in a clean area, but in a safe one. This also affects the creation of jobs,” said Irina Dovgalo and stressed that good conditions in the polluted areas have already been created. “Look, how clean the streets are there. Not only the regional centers but also agro-towns and even small villages have been reconstructed. Everything was done so that it was pleasant and comfortable for people to live there,” she added.

As BelTA previously reported, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko gave instructions during his visit to Bragin on 26 April to develop a program to revive the Chernobyl-affected areas.

“This program should be a program for land revival, the purpose of which is to reach the level of the pre-Chernobyl period,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko. According to him, there is no need to restore small villages. “We need to decide, as we said in Narovlya, where people will live. These are district centers (we have them) and agro-towns, which we have as well. We need to focus on these agro-towns,” the head of state said.

Logging and woodworking is one of the promising areas for the development of these areas. “First of all, we need to plant forest on vacant areas, and there are many of them. There are a lot of such areas,” the head of state said.

The focus will also be on agriculture, which plays a significant role in the economy of these regions.

“We have to think about what we will do in the south of the country. As we once planned, we need to build a railway from Zhitkovichi to Yelsk. We will calculate everything. If it pays off at least in 10-12 years, it should be done to involve this region. We also need to work on the development of other roads. We need to restore this region and determine where people will live. We should understand what enterprises to build there, what jobs will be available,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

The task is to work out an appropriate program by September.