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16 Jun 2017

Lukashenko emphasizes progress in rehabilitation of Chernobyl-affected areas

Lukashenko emphasizes progress in rehabilitation of Chernobyl-affected areas

KHOINIKI, 16 June (BelTA) - There has been big progress in the rehabilitation of Chernobyl-affected territories in the past two decades, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said during the visit to the Polesie State Radiation and Ecological Reserve in Khoiniki District, Gomel Oblast, on 16 June, BelTA informs.

“This is part of my personal and presidential life. I have mixed feelings, from pain to positive impressions. I have lived this life with them (people from the affected territories. – BelTA’s note),” the Belarusian leader stressed.

The head of state remarked that in the first years of his presidency he regularly visited Gomel Oblast, including radiation-polluted places, and continues doing it now. “The main thing is that people live a normal life here,” the president said. “Back then, when I arrived here in the second year of my presidency, people were frightened. Many people have built their politics on it, they are abroad now (they used foreign grants). They left, and people stayed here.”

“A lot has changed over 20 years. People live here, just like in the entire Belarus. The greatest joy for me, one of the results of this presidential period is the achievement of the Belarusian people. They have preserved and restored these territories. This is the main result,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

The president said that such issues as the restoration and rehabilitation of Chernobyl-affected regions are of great importance for him. It is essential to make serious decisions here. “When we started to reclaim lands, there was very much criticism of my decisions,” he said.

The head of state said that the results of the efforts are also reflected in economic indicators. For example, Gomel Oblast managed to double and even triple the production of foodstuffs in certain segments in the past years. “They buy only clean products. There is strict control,” the president said.

When in the radiation and ecological reserve, Alexander Lukashenko visited the uninhabited village of Babchin. More than 700 people were evacuated from this village after the Chernobyl accident. Part of the buildings of the village is used for the needs of the reserve. The head of state was informed that a big part of the territories can be used in various economic activities if all safety precautions are taken. A list of industries includes wood-processing, beekeeping, horse breeding. Specialists of the reserve have made much progress in these industries. They make clean products in compliance with all standards here. Alexander Lukashenko visited an apiary and tasted honey of local beekeepers.

The president gave an instruction to continue developing corresponding industries to keep the affected territories in order, create new jobs and conditions for the increase in the salaries of local residents.

The head of state was also informed about the plan to alter the borders of the reserve. Plans have been made to exclude part of the territories and involve them in the economic turnover. Over the years since the accident, the radiation background has improved significantly. It is attributed to such physical processes as the half-decay of radioactive materials. Besides, the scientific research of recent decades proved that clean products can be made on these territories, animal husbandry can be a success there. The president gave an instruction to prepare and submit a corresponding draft decree.

After the visit to the apiary, Alexander Lukashenko changed his route. He decided to visit places which remained uninhabited after the evacuation of residents three decades ago. He visited one of the abandoned houses on the territory of the Polesie State Radiation and Ecological Reserve.

The president also visited a research center of the reserve where he familiarized himself with the organization of the laboratory analysis and control of the radiation background, paid a visit to the history museum of the reserve.

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