The Bishkek thermal power plant has been ordered to completely modernize, after a blast at the aging heat and electricity generating facility left parts of the city without hot water and heating. Three people were seriously injured in an explosion at the plant early on February 2nd. The breakdown forced authorities to declare hot water and heating restrictions in some parts of the city as the plant’s staff worked to repair the damage. Kyrgyzstan’s president Sadyr Japarov visited the plant as work was being done to get the facility back online. In an interview to the Kabar news agency, Mr Japarov said he has given instructions to completely modernize the thermal power plant. “This will require a lot of money, but there is no other way out. We will have to find it [money],” the president said, mentioning that the thermal power plant was launched back in 1961 and its equipment is very outdated. “Despite this, we continue to operate it, repairing it every summer to get through the heating season.” The last major accident at the Bishkek thermal power plant occurred in January 2018. At the time the plant’s breakdown left the city without heating for three days amid freezing air temperatures. Work to modernize the plant commenced in 2014, following a 2013 loan agreement between China’s Export-Import Bank and the Kyrgyz government. China’s Tebian Electric Apparatus Stock Co. Ltd. (TBEA) was granted the contract and modernized the plant for $386 million. Today’s accident occurred in the old part of the power plant that was not modernized. In the interview, Mr Japarov said that instead of partially reconstructing the power plant, it was necessary to completely renovate it or build a new facility.
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A draft law aimed at creating the necessary infrastructure for electric vehicles in Kazakhstan was presented at the meeting of the Mazhilis. Deputy Samat Musabayev noted that in 2022 a new world record for electric vehicles was set, with sales reaching over 7.8 million units. Forecasts also point to significant growth in sales of electric cars and hybrid vehicles worldwide in 2023, with about 17 million units expected to be sold. In the context of this trend, 7,793 electric vehicles were registered in Kazakhstan by the end of last year. The deputy noted that the increase in demand for environmentally friendly cars requires the development of appropriate infrastructure and improvement of the current legislation, which the proposed bill is aiming to rectify. The draft law aims to introduce new rules to ensure the installation of electric charging stations on roads, in residential and public areas. It also defines the competence of the authorities to locate electric charging stations, reserve the territory for them, and facilitates the parking and movement of electric vehicles. In addition, the bill provides for the exemption of electric car owners from parking charges. In addition, the deputies of the Mazhilis approved in its first reading a bill that provides for administrative liability for violating the rules of stopping or parking vehicles in places intended for recharging electric vehicles. The draft law "On amendments and additions to some legislative acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the popularization of environmentally friendly transport and the development of infrastructure for electric vehicles" was approved.
The creation of at least 250,000 jobs is one of the most important tasks of the Cabinet of Ministers for 2024, the Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers and Head of the Administration of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Akylbek Japarov stated at a cabinet meeting on January 11th. “This year should be a breakthrough in all respects,” the minister said. “Yesterday marked three years since Sadyr Japarov became president. During this time, we have managed to do a lot, and we are already seeing the results of this work.” Japarov went on saying that the creation of new industries, the development of the agricultural sector, the opening of new mining projects, the launch of railway construction and building large hydropower facilities will speed up the implementation of the goals planned for 2024. “In the near future, a list of a hundred large industrial facilities that should be launched this year will be approved,” said Japarov. Addressing an acute shortage of qualified labor in the construction and clothing industries, Japarov said that “many clothing enterprises have to attract foreign labor, while our citizens are in labor migration outside the country. Therefore, this whole range of issues should be a priority for all government bodies.”
Mayor Zhyrgalbek Shamyraliev, together with a group of his representatives and Ulana Bakirova, an expert from the Information Policy Service of the Presidential Administration, visited Hunan Junxing Company in Changsha, China. The purpose of their visit was to study advanced waste treatment methods and familiarize themselves with the transportation and logistics complex. Hunan Junxing is a high-tech enterprise engaged in the development and implementation of innovative methods for municipal solid waste treatment, municipal wastewater treatment, landfill leachate treatment, fly ash utilization, and other types of waste. The technologies used include advanced methods of physical and chemical treatment and mechanical sorting, which allows the company to effectively solve the problems of environmental pollution and waste utilization. During the visit, the delegation was shown the transshipment complex of the Hunan Junxing Company, and received information on the operation of the waste utilization plant. The potential prospects for the application of technologies implemented in Changsha being adopted in Bishkek were high on the agenda. At the end of the meeting, a ceremony was held with the company gifting two advanced garbage trucks to the Bishkek administration. During the visit, a meeting was also held with Gao Wenqi, Deputy Mayor of the People's Government of Changsha, wherein the parties discussed the development of infrastructure of the city, and prospects for cooperation in the areas of trade, economy, culture, and the social sphere.
On January 3rd at 18:00, Bishkek entered the top ten cities globally with the highest levels of air pollution, clocking in at number seven according data compiled by AirNow, which reports air quality using the official U.S. Air Quality Index (AQI). According to the website, at this time the city was marked as "unhealthy", with an aAQI of 158. An air quality monitoring station has been installed on the territory of the U.S. Embassy in Kyrgyzstan, which updates information every hour. The Air Quality Index is divided into six categories reflecting the level of health hazards. An AQI value above 300 is considered dangerous, whilst a value below 50 is considered good.
On December 15th, President Sadyr Japarov addressed the second People’s Kurultai, a national assembly of representatives of the public, to discuss current issues of national importance and develop joint proposals to promote reforms. In his speech, the President laid particular emphasis on the fight against corruption. “Corruption is a social evil not only of our people, but of all countries of the world. Because of corruption, our country did not develop for almost 30 years, only a few people became rich, and the common people lived in poverty. Currently, anti-corruption measures are in full swing. Billions of dollars are being returned to state coffers,” Japarov said, adding that a war is also being waged against organized criminal groups. “No investor will invest money in a country with criminal elements. In addition, some officials continue to obstruct investors and engage in bribery and lobbying. All these phenomena harm the image of the country. In this regard, the merciless fight against corruption will continue and intensify,” the President promised. President Japarov also touched upon the topic of new trade routes for Kyrgyzstan. “Kyrgyzstan is located on a unique trade route — the Great Silk Road between Europe and Asia. Occupying a convenient geographical location on trade routes, our country can become a bridge between East and West. For this purpose, a new multimodal transport route, the ‘Southern Corridor’ is being developed. In addition, work is underway to open a southern air corridor, which will strengthen air traffic between Kyrgyzstan and China, and connect the airports of Osh and Kashgar. “At the same time, construction of the China–Kyrgyzstan–Uzbekistan railway will begin in the near future. The pilot project for transporting cargo containers in transit by rail from China to Afghanistan via Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan will continue. The issue of launching a pilot container train linking Iran–Turkmenistan–Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan is also being considered. I am confident that these initiatives and ongoing projects will allow Kyrgyzstan to reach a new level of transport and logistics communication with the outside world,” President Japarov concluded.