June 26, 2008

Ukrainian Premier Visits Mine, Discusses Coal Industry Reform Plans

Text of report by private Ukrainian ICTV television on 26 June

[Presenter] The search for 12 miners has been under way for three weeks already at the Karl Marx mine in Yenakiyeve. Let me recall that an explosion took place at the mine on 8 June. One man was killed and 29 injured.

After this accident Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko undertook reform of the coal industry. In order to experience miners' problems, the prime minister visited a mine in Luhansk Region today. She changed into miner's gear and went over 900 meters down the mine. Our correspondents witnessed it all.

[Correspondent] The prime minister has worked as a miner. Yuliya Tymoshenko descended almost 1,000 meters underground at the Frunze state mine. She was equipped appropriately: a new uniform, a helmet and a flashlight were specially given to the prime minister. After returning to the surface, Tymoshenko advised officials to go underground once a week.

[Tymoshenko] I want the ministers to go down to [experience] the conditions in which these people work today at least once a week. They should try to feel how much the country needs coal and what the country gives to get this coal.

[Correspondent] Tymoshenko sympathized with the workers of closed mines. She has undertaken the reform of the industry. Tymoshenko promised to do this during her first premiership, she even developed a programme. Now she limits herself to three points. She wants to attract investment, remove intermediaries and increase the purchase price of coal. Tymoshenko hopes the owners will increase miners' wages after that.

[Tymoshenko] It is a hellish job. And it is just impossible to pay for it the way it is being paid for at the moment, in comparison to other countries with a coal industry.

[Correspondent] Before the reform, Tymoshenko wants to experiment. The experiment will be implemented at the Rovenkiatratsyt enterprise. While visiting the mine, the prime minister promised to renew payments on the [Soviet-era] devalued deposits as soon as the privatization process is unblocked. She promised she will speak to the president [Viktor Yushchenko] about amendments to the 2008 budget on Friday morning.

Originally published by ICTV television, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1545 26 Jun 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Former Soviet Union. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.