August 21, 2008

Coal Rush Forms Long Queues in Kyrgyzstan As Winter Draws Nearer

Text of report by privately-owned Kyrgyz news agency website

Bishkek, 21 August: The law-enforcement agencies intend to establish order at the Karakeche coal mine in Kyrgyzstan's [eastern] Naryn Region. Following a staff meeting in Karakeche on 16 August, which discussed establishing order and the observance of a queue by vehicles waiting to get coal, local authorities decided to step up the work of on-duty police at the coal mine.

According to drivers, sometimes people are spending several days waiting in queues. There are talks that criminal groups have begun meddling in the distribution of coal. Speculative demand for coal is also aggravating the situation. Coal output is insufficient to load vehicles evenly.

Naryn Region's police department reported on 18 August that an on- duty police officer in charge of allowing vehicles to enter the mine was injured at 0800 in the morning [local time]. A man who inflicted a knife wound on the policeman's left forearm was drunk and went into hiding in mountains. The same day, Naryn Region's police department and the Dzhumgal district police set up a group of detectives to find and arrest the suspect. A criminal case has been launched.

The fugitive, a certain S.A., was found, arrested and put in the remand centre of the Dzhumgal district police on 19 August to carry out an investigation.

Today the head of Naryn Region's police department, Nurlan Temirbayev, arrived at the Karakeche coal mine to check how forces have been lined up to establish order. Col Temirbayev said that the police would not allow anyone to dictate his own terms at the strategically essential place - Karakeche.

"We have every force and means to maintain order at Karakeche," Temirbayev said.

[Monitor's note: On 24 July 2008, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev told people, schools, public saunas and baths to switch to using coal for heating in winter amid growing concerns that hydroelectric power stations would not be able to provide the country with electricity without interruption due to a shortage of water in the major Toktogul reservoir. Source: Kyrgyz Television 1, Bishkek, in Russian 1600 gmt 24 Jul 08]

Originally published by website, Bishkek, in Russian 0746 21 Aug 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Central Asia. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.