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Belarus President for development of agrotowns in revived Chernobyl areas

April 26 is the day of the Chernobyl tragedy. Exactly 30 years ago, the largest man-made disaster in history occurred. An explosion at one of the power units in Ukraine’s Chernobyl NPP led to the release of radioactive materials. The consequences have affected many countries. But it was Belarus that suffered most. To overcome the consequences of the catastrophe has become a task of national importance for the modern Belarus.

Traditionally, on April 26, the President of Belarus visits the affected regions.

Belarus spent about $22 billion to eliminate the consequences of the accident. Most of the money was spent on the rehabilitation of contaminated areas. About 17,000 hectares of land have become eligible for agriculture again.

Alexander Lukashenko got acquainted with the progress of spring field work in the Yelsk district of the Gomel region. The head of state asked about sowing technologies and corn growing. The President set a task to farmers all over the country to complete the sowing by May 1.

Also, the President mentioned the need for wider implementation of green technologies in the agricultural sector. According to the President, organic fertilizers must be more widely used to improve soil fertility. They need to replace chemicals. Environmentally friendly products are now more in demand in foreign markets.

Alexander Lukashenko:
People pay a lot of money for clean products. Thank God, we don't have that overdose here. Of course, somewhere yields will drop but if you work with organics, you will have almost the same harvest and the same money. This is what you should be preparing for.

The head of state visited a kindergarten, a school and a local sports center in the agrotown Dobryn.

Alexander Lukashenko:
We decided that we need to build these agricultural towns. An agrotown should be each farm's center. Managers, specialists, breeders, engineers and field workers will live in this center. Here is an agrotown. You should have about 5-6 such agrotowns in your district. It is good that you have built it. We can see what path to choose. And please bring order to every plot of land and social facilities, shops and cultural centers. 
We still have large villages. Somewhere we merged old collective farms with the leading ones. Thus, villages that were formerly centers of those state-run farms still remain and we cannot abandon them. This will offend people. It is not known whether this is good to have everyone living in these agrotowns. We need to preserve large villages of the second level, below agro-towns. Build new roads or improve the existing ones that lead to those villages! And tidy up those villages. 
We still have those small villages, of the third level, the so-called unpromising villages. Who needs them? Maybe we can find some funds to support some of those villages. Some elderly still live there. They need at least minimum conditions: a mobile food point, for example; they need access to hospitals and some ways to get pensions. Therefore, some attention should be paid to those villages, too, as long as people live there. And then time will show. That is, we are supporting and will still keep those unpromising villages and former centers of village farms for a while... But what we need to develop is agro-towns of the highest level. We need to complete by 2020 those regional centers and agricultural towns. So you have five years to build an agrotown of roughly the same level.

Within the framework of the Chernobyl programs, Belarus built almost 70,000 apartments, 150 schools, and more than 100 kindergartens by 2014. In March 2016, another state program to overcome the consequences of the disaster was approved. The President noted that in the next five years all the issues that relate to the development of the south of the country must be solved so that these lands forget the tragedy. The President noted that in the next five years, all the issues related to the development of the south of Belarus must be solved so that these lands forget the tragedy.

Alexander Lukashenko:
The result today is obvious. Today we can openly and directly say that we did the right thing having started the rehabilitation of these lands. Today there are no lands in the Yelsk district that we need to return to life. Take Dobryn. 50 kids are in the kindergarten. 50! So there are prospects, there is life. Regional centers and agricultural towns of Chernobyl are not worse than those in Minsk, Grodno, Mogilev and Vitebsk regions. None of the local villagers will go from here to the city to live. We should have started earlier, back in Soviet times when it the situation here was the worst. This is because back then we could attract enormous resources to overcome these effects. But neither the central government nor government seemed to care much. And, probably, they objectively did not understand which direction to choose. That is, they lost time. We lost probably 10-15 years in these arguments and disputes. And only after about 20 years after the tragedy, we started to deal with this tragedy for real. Over the coming five years, we will resolve all the problems and difficulties connected with the south of our country.

Further reading:

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Alexander Lukashenko about expectations from Rio Olympics

Belarus President for development of agrotowns in revived Chernobyl areas